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Best HR Apps For Your Business

Best HR Apps For Your Business
Best HR Apps For Your Business Development We all know how stressful a HR manager’s job could be. It is his department’s responsibility under his guidance to handle employee relations, payroll management, hiring and layoffs, rewards and remunerations, change and culture management. He can be compared to a mom who is always there to settle scores between son and father. Though the job is definitely tiring in nature, time has come for HR managers to heave a sigh of relief thanks to innovative HR apps that significantly reduces their workload.   Apps for Rescue There are now apps that can completely take care of payroll management, network communication, project management, monitoring workforce leave, recruiting and performance management. Think about it, how much of time will be saved if there is some technology that helps you in tracking the sales force performance metrics (especially in IT companies where there are hundreds of thousands of employees), attendance, payroll, etc., Today’s technological scenario is something to be awed at and not to be taken granted for. Small organizations should push themselves one step higher to leverage the functionality of innovative technology for their business development. Big Data – The Big Boss Data sits at the centre commanding all other entities to obey the rules laid by it. Even giants like Google can no more rely on their intuitions for decision making but rather go for numbers and information. HR is no exception when it comes to adapting new technology. Why can’t companies dare to use new software services – afterall nothing is lost! When you are in a situation to scale up your operations on one end and manage the tight competition on the other, yet you would not opt for a change!  That does not make sense in any plausible manner. Think Fast Act Faster Let me introduce you to some of the interesting and enterprising HR apps (free as well as paid versions) that will give some room for HR managers to go for a long pending vacation with their family! It is better to automate your HR functions and please, please think over and above MS Office. Orange HRM: OrangeHRM offers you flexibility and freedom to select from free and paid versions of OrangeHRM backed with specialized expertise. Their  HR modules cover core areas like payroll management, employee data management and many more. There’s the free option and paid enterprise version. And it’s all open source so if you have developers you can customize it to your heart’s content. App from Hay Group: Allows your managers to create job descriptions from a library of roles or generic templates defined by their experts, or you can completely start from scratch. Suggests the skills and behaviours needed for a role and gives feedback on job design so your managers know they’re on track. Expense on Demand: Expense On Demand will reduce the time needed to process expense claims by at least 50%. Claims are approved electronically and arrive in Finance department  fully coded, validated and approved ready to be paid. Bamboo HR: BambooHR combines  all of your employee information from all of your locations into a single view. You can then access, control, sort, analyze, and take action on the data instantly—from your office, the road or home. Kim Rohrer Head of People Operations / Disqus says “BambooHR frees up more time for me to follow my passion in helping people do their jobs better” Greenhouse: Make recruiting your competitive advantage through this app that optimizes your entire recruiting process. Find better candidates, conduct more focused interviews, and make data-driven hiring decisions. I’m listing a set of links for you to go, explore and...
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Digital Marketing is the Future

Digital Marketing is the Future
Digital Marketing: A Small Business Guide Disclaimer: This content is curated and since information related to digital marketing is available aplenty on the Internet, I thought of compiling data in a sequential and comprehensive manner for the benefit of the readers. You will find a wealth of information on content marketing, email marketing, PPC, social media marketing and SEO. Lot of interesting images from Pinterest have been supplemented for the benefit of my audience. One of the easiest, fastest and cheapest ways for businesses to reach consumers today is via the Internet. Digital marketing, also known as Internet or online marketing, is quickly replacing print, television and radio advertisement as the marketing approach of choice for businesses of all sizes. Recent research revealed that 1 in 4 of every business-advertising dollar is dedicated to Internet marketing.  Digital marketing uses internet connected devices such as smart phones, laptops and tablets to engage customers online via technologies such as web and email in conjunction with digital customer data such as characteristics and behaviour. Channels include display advertising, search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). It also includes email, RSS, blogging, podcasting, video streams, social networks and instant response messaging.  If you are looking for an edge over your competitors, a digital marketing strategy can provide many benefits to today’s savvy business owner. Top Benefits of Digital Marketing for Small Business Instant access: Wide reach to internet users in a single click. Cost effective: A well planned and targeted digital marketing campaign can help your business reach your target audience at a lower cost compared to traditional marketing tactics. Open 24/7: Your website is available to your target audience 24/7. Increase customer retention and loyalty: Engage with your customers in a more personalised way when you advertise your products and services. Community building and reputation: Social media provides the perfect platform to build customer loyalty and build strong online reputation. Research: Provides the possibility for an immediate response and feedback from today’s connected consumer. It’s measureable: Track your online campaign’s success in real time. Digital Marketing Channels or Campaigns Online marketing doesn’t only revolve around your website. Although this is an important part of it, you should be aware of other channels that will aid your digital marketing strategy. Whether you’re looking at low budget or blow–the- budget campaigns, these forms of digital marketing are ideal for small businesses as you can adapt your activity to suit your financial situation:  1. Content marketing Your website is a powerful tool within your marketing strategy. Most of the time this is where you will be directing your customers to when you engage with them so it’s important to ensure you have interesting content to keep your customers on the site for longer. Start by keeping an interesting blog so that you can share relevant content with your customers and draw them to your site.  With new technologies, more people are reading content on their mobile phones and tablets than ever before. It’s important to ensure your website is easy to browse and interact with on these different devices so that customers can have a good user experience on the move. 2. Search engine marketing Stay ahead of your competitors by driving traffic to your website using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It works by optimising your site to increase its organic ranking in search engine results (for example how high up you would appear in a search list on Google), so that customers will be more likely to visit your site. Search engine marketing focuses on improving your ranking using specific methods such as improving your use of keywords (words and phrases relevant...
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Forecasting Part 1

Forecasting Part 1
Objectives of Forecasting The objective of this post is to impart some light on the uses and importance of forecasting and to get you acquainted with various forecasting techniques. And also to know how these techniques are used in decision making process. Nature of Forecast: A forecast is an estimate of an event which will happen in future – be it, demand of a product, rainfall at a particular place, population of a country, or growth of a technology. It is estimated based on the past data related to a particular event and hence it is not a deterministic quantity. In any industrial enterprise, forecasting is the first level decision activity before consolidating other decision problems like, materials planning, scheduling, type of production system. Forecasting provides a basis for co-ordination of plans for activities in various units of a company. All the functional managers in any organization will base their decision on the forecast value. So, it provides vital information for that organization. Classification of forecasts: Technology forecasts Economic forecasts Demand forecasts Technology Forecast Technology is a combination of hardware and software. Hardware is any physical product while software is the know-how, technique or procedure. Technology forecast deals with certain characteristics like level of technical performance, rate of technological advances. It is a prediction of the future characteristics of useful machines, products, process, procedures or techniques. TIFAC – Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council is an autonomous organization set up in 1988 under the Department of Science & Technology. In 1993, TIFAC embarked upon the major task of formulating a Technology Vision for the country in various emerging technology areas. Economic Forecast Government agencies and other organizations involve in collecting data and prediction of estimate on the general business environment. This involves the application of statistical models utilizing variables sometimes called indicators. Some of the most well-known economic indicators include inflation and interest rates, GDP growth/decline, retail sales and unemployment rates. This is used to predict future tax revenues, level of business growth, level of employment, level of inflation etc. Also, these will be useful to business circles to plan their future activities based on the level of business growth. Demand Forecast This gives the expected level of demand for goods or services. This is the basic input for business planning and control. Hence, the decisions for all the functions of any corporate house are influenced by demand forecast. Factors affecting demand forecast Business cycle Random variation Customer’s plan Product’s life cycle Competitor’s efforts and prices Customer’s confidence and attitude Quality Credit policy Design of goods or services Reputation for service Sales effort Advertising Hurry up! We are running short of...
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Just in Time Manufacturing

Just in Time Manufacturing
Just in Time Manufacturing Concept #JIT Philosophy: With the progression in product-process technologies and the hybrid manufacturing systems, Japanese have been perfecting a manufacturing system called ‘Just in Time’ or ‘JIT’. This JIT operating system is nothing but a production #strategy that strives to improve business return on investment by reducing in-process inventory and associated carrying costs. The JIT purchasing system has emphasis on timing to supply materials just in time for use on the factory floor. Equally important emphasis is given to close and long term relationship with a few suppliers. The suppliers in JIT manufacturing are geographically closely located. Specifications: Producing and delivering finished goods ‘just in time’ to be sold Partly finished goods ‘just in time’ to be assembled into finished goods Parts ‘just in time’ to go into partly finished goods Materials ‘just in time’ to be made into parts. Loose specifications instead of rigid product specifications are used which leads to best use of supplier specialization and expertise for low cost and better quality. Frequent deliveries (daily deliveries) of small lots of exact quantities required are supplied directly to the shop floor avoiding large inventories, paper work and double inspection. The JIT system underlines the mutual confidence between buyer and supplier and long term relationship. This leads to investment by the supplier for the benefit of the buyer in terms of plant and equipment for improvement of quality, reduction of cost and shortening manufacturing lead times. Where does the responsibility lie? ‘The responsibility for the quality rests with the manufacturer of the part’ is the principle behind this #Japanese practice. The primary responsibility for quality is transferred from quality control department to the production department. The quality control is considered a line function rather than staff function. The processes are designed to have less specialization on the part of workers. The physical layout is arranged in such a way that workers can operate two or three machines effectively and thereby become multifunctional. Good Quality First Time Every Time: Workers are organized in small closely linked groups thereby building team work. The production for each stage is planned in small lot sizes just meeting the needs of the subsequent stage. The system is such that even if one item produced is substandard, it would affect subsequent processes causing shortages and exposing the process or worker who has produced substandard item. This acts as a great motivator to produce good quality first time, every time. This also heightens the awareness among the workers about the inter dependence of processes. #Taiichi Ohno, Father of the Toyota Production System saw this as an attribute rather than a problem. He used an analogy of lowering the water level in a river to expose the rocks to explain how reducing inventory showed where production flow was disrupted. Once bottle necks were exposed, they could be rectified or removed. Since one of the main barriers was rework, lowering inventory shoved each shop to improve its own quality. Just-in-time is a means to improving performance of the system, not an end. The result of the Japanese manufacturing system is quite pervasive in the areas of: Reduction in inventory Reduction in scrap Reduction in work Reduction in indirect costs Reduction in spare #Reduction in administrative costs Increase in motivation of workers #Increase in quality #Better response to customers Better system flexibility and quicker response. What is #kanban? Kanban is Japanese for “visual signal” or “card.” Toyota line-workers used a Kanban (i.e., an actual card) to signal steps in their manufacturing process. The system’s highly visual nature allowed teams to communicate more easily on what work needed to be done and when. It also...
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Patent Protection

Patent Protection
The Idea behind Patent Protection In product markets, the problem of imitation poses a great problem for innovators who are deprived of enjoying economic profits fully. If imitators are able to move in rapidly and capture a substantial share of the market, the initial profits earned by innovators may not be sufficient to cover their costs and risks in the long run. However, a substantial delay between the time of innovation and successive entry by competitors may provide the pioneers with decent profits and make invention and innovation a more attractive activity. The patent system, by establishing a period of time during which the firm faces reduced competition, increases the expected return for innovative effort. Product and Process Innovations: A nation by stimulating research and development can increase the prospects of product and process innovations. Governments can encourage such innovations by granting patents. Three criteria must be satisfied to obtain a patent: The invention must be new It must not have been known to the public before the inventor completed it for more than one year prior to a patent application It must be useful and must be non-obvious What are Patents? Patents confer the exclusive right to the use of an idea for a long period (which varies between nations,say,in countries like India, it is seven to fourteen years, depending on the nature of the product) within which the innovator might be able to recover his initial investment. Another reason to grant patents is to provide for widespread disclosure of new ideas and techniques. The main objective of patent protection is to encourage research and development. Patents: Encourage research and invention Induce an inventor to disclose his discoveries instead of keeping them as a secret. Offer a reward for the expenses of developing inventions to the state at which they are commercially practicable; and Provide an inducement to invest capital in new lines of production Granting of Patents: The idea behind granting of patents thus is to benefit the society. Developing countries have to offer patent protection, the lack of which has made many foreign firms shy away from investing in core sectors like pharmaceuticals and biotechnology in these nations. As a result, people of these countries are forced to buy life saving drugs like those for cancer and have to pay ruinous prices. Once patent protection is available, there is a possibility for manufacturing most of the drugs that are being imported, eventually leading to a fall in the price levels. One of the difficult aspects of patent law is the principle that, whether a patent is to be issued to the person who conceives the idea or who first files for a patent. Another international issue involving patents is that, countries allow firms to steal and copy protected ideas, due to lack of severe legal enforcements or lack of interest. Either way it proves detrimental to the interest of the patent holders and such violations have to be strictly prohibited. Note: THE PATENTS ACT, 1970: An Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to patents The Patent Amendment Act,2005 The Patent Rules,2003 and Amendment Rules,2006 are some of the laws that protect patents in India....
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