Posted by Andy Whitehead

Director, AMPW Ltd

Wed 24th, Feb

Mental Toughness is an agenda fast gaining momentum across the sports, education and business worlds. It is defined as:

….a quality which determines, in some part, how effectively individuals perform when exposed to stressors, pressure and challenge….irrespective of the prevailing situation. (Clough & Strycharczyk 2006)

‘Resilience’ is a word often used when discussing Mental Toughness – Resilience can be described as:

‘The ability to recover quickly from change, setback or misfortune’

My simple view is that people with strong mental toughness can (and do) make excellent leaders. The question often asked is whether you can develop stronger mental toughness?…thankfully the answer is yes!

The four key components of mental toughness are:

•   Challenge – an individual’s approach to challenge (or change) and whether they see problems/obstacles or opportunities

•   Control – The extent someone feels they are in control – some feel external factors control everything where others have a strong sense of self-control and influence over external activities

•   Commitment – The extent to which an individual persists with tasks and goals – either with a strong focus on delivery or the other end of the scale, easily distracted and diverted from the end goal.

•   Confidence – Individuals high in confidence have the self-belief to complete successfully tasks that may be considered too difficult by individuals with similar abilities but lower confidence.

Leaders who develop their mental toughness will deliver better results in terms of performance, quality and the bottom line…..maybe more organisations should be focusing more development activity to the mental Toughness of their leadership?

If you want to be more resilient, have greater confidence and deliver increased performance then join me for an exclusive master class on Friday 1st April, 10.30 - 16.30 at Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce. Click here to find out more and secure your place.

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New Requirements Raise Concerns

Posted by Leslie August

Director - Boomerang Carnets LTD

Thu 18th, Feb

The “devil is in the details” when getting temporary imports into Turkey. Turkey accepts the international customs document, the ATA Carnet, for commercial samples, professional equipment and trade fairs and exhibitions.However, recently, Turkish customs issued new requirements that will cause problems for U.K. exporters and carnet holders if caught unawares. Unfortunately, while the ATA Carnet is intended to facilitate temporary imports for commercial and cultural purposes, these regulatory impositions create unnecessary administrative hurdles for users.

The obstructionist requirements are regarding of use of ATA Carnets presented to Turkish customs in the areas of:1) Authorized Representatives, 2) Temporary Admissions with Partial Relief from duties and taxesand 3) Penalties associated with misuse of the carnet.

In addition to explicitly naming the Holder’s Authorized Representative and providing a signature, that representative must obtain a Power of Attorney approved by the Turkish Consulate. Turkish customs has made it clear that this is required in spite of lack of any mention of such a requirement in the international convention under which carnets are managed.

Turkish customs also clarifies that items subject to “Partial Relief” will carry a duty rate of 3% monthly. For further details, exporters are referred to an authorized Customs broker. Carnet specialists are concerned about any requirements that depend on the use of a customs broker since the original intent of the ATA Carnet was a do-it-yourself document.

Finally, penalties are outlined for misuse of the carnet. They are steep for goods re-exported more than 2 months after expiration. The is fine is two times the bonded value of the goods.

While ATA Carnet authorities are addressing these unnecessary trade barriers directly with Turkish customs, exporters must comply with the requirements. It is our opinion that these regulations are in direct conflict with the intent of the ATA Carnet system and that customs authorities already have adequate protection,in the form of a financial guarantee, without imposing limitations that make it harder to temporarily import.

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But where is the similar push for disability in the workplace?

Posted by Tom Dowling

Tom Dowling, Editor of the Liverpool-based charity health and disability newspaper, All Together NOW!(www.alltogethernow.org.uk)

Tue 09th, Feb

More than 40 years ago, while lying paralysed in a hospital bed in Southport’s spinal injuries unit, my Indian neurosurgeon gave me a few words of advice:

‘Strive to be as flexible as you can – physically and mentally,’ he said, puffing on his pipe. ‘Happiness and fulfilment are linked to attitudes – yours and the people you will meet along the way . . . and especially employers.

‘Disabled people can still make valuable contributions. We all just need to think a bit differently, that’s all.’ 

Kookal Krishnan had a lifetime’s experience in helping paralysed people get back to ‘normality’.

But he was frustrated that most of the people he and his team had helped could not find the same support with employers.

A few months earlier I had the world at my feet. I’d just finished my reporter’s training and was looking forward to Fleet Street.

But while returning with three other 20-year-old friends from the ultimate road trip to Everest, we were attacked by armed bandits in Iran. A bullet severed my spinal cord and left me paralysed from the chest.

It could have been the end of my short-lived journalistic career. But within weeks of my injury Dave Williams, the boss of the now defunct Ellesmere Port News, offered me a job. Just one snag, he said: “You’ll have to be flexible. We work on the first floor and there’s no lift. You will have to use a desk in the ground floor kitchen and use a bucket for a pee.”

It wasn’t perfect – back in the 70s everywhere had steps, and more steps – no ramps or dropped kerbs. But I’d been given a chance, and it soon led to a job on the ECHO where I worked for almost 30 years– proving to members of staff, including management, that taking on a disabled person can bring many benefits to a business.

It also helped me to earn enough to raise a family, to contribute to the local economy, and saved the Government hundreds of thousands of pounds in benefits.

All the evidence suggests there is a really strong business case for employing, and retaining, disabled staff.

So why are more than 2 MILLION disabled peoplenot getting the chance?

In a recent article in HR Magazine Alice Weightman, founder of recruitment consultancy Hanson Search, suggests that organisations often just don’t feel they know how to discuss disability . . .

If that’s the case, why not set up disability awareness courses for line managers and staff? That will help.

There’s lots of other help around, too. Check out the Government’s Disability Confident website (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/disability-confident-campaign)

Acas has also launched an employers’ guide to disability discrimination (http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1859), which includes tips on recruitment advertising – how to write them and where to place them so that disabled people are most likely to see them.

Disability in the workplace is nothing to fear. All organisations, and especially those in the public sector, need to embrace it and reap the benefits of a truly diverse workforce. 

I’m certain that’s something my old guru, Kookal Krishnan, would have raised his pipe to.

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February 7th – February 15th

Mon 01st, Feb

Chinese New Year poses one of the biggest annual challenges you'll face when working in the logistics sector.

China is essentially closed for business over this holiday period, meaning that planning ahead for stock surpluses and post-holiday lag as workers drip back to work is absolutely vital.

Great communication and forward planning can save you from possible complications during this time. Collaborating closely with clients and planning intimately with suppliers, carriers, airlines and sub-contractors will eliminate Supply Chain interruption.

Supply Chain Managers in 2016 need to plan for no production or shipments leaving China from late January and for reduced output during the first half of March 2016.

It is therefore prudent to analyse the key ingredients required for businesses wishing to maintain Supply Chain integrity during Chinese New Year.

Forecasting

Forecasting can be quite complex as it is dependent upon supplier numbers, geographical location and SKU data.

Factories will enter overdrive mode prior to Chinese New Year to meet delivery obligations prior to closing. Supply Chain Managers must be very specific on:

  • Production deadlines
  • Latest ship dates

Service providers likewise must communicate their client forecasts to carriers so as to avoid booking refusals and container availability bottlenecks. It is critical to liaise with suppliers to confirm exact numbers on an on-going basis at least two weeks prior to vessel departure. 

Increase Inventory

As a rule of thumb, receipts scheduled for March require 50% of that volume "shifting" to arrive in January and the remaining 50% for February's intake.

The net effect on stock migration sees January and February taking an additional 50% increase to counteract a significant drawdown reduction in March.

Warehouse Planning

Warehouse capacity and manpower planning for this seasonal fluctuation is essential.

Creating additional space where spare capacity is at a premium can be managed effectively by having a laser focus approach to creating more room by executing good housekeeping rules.

Manpower planning remains a conundrum between goods in, housekeeping, picking and loading. Tailoring receipts and dispatch activity, invariably by tweaking resource allocation, minimises any short-term disruption.

Changing Sourcing Strategy

Dual sourcing is a common solution. In other words instead of buying additional inventory look to other possible suppliers from different geographical locations, that aren't affected by the Chinese New Year closures, to bridge the gap to maintain a consistent and manageable product flow. 

Supply Chain Savvy

Incentivising slow moving stock and offering promotions can clearly help both revenue streams and warehouse space.

In summary the more time you take to understand the complexity of Chinese New Year, the better equipped you will be to mitigate its effect on your company's operations. 

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New regulations will come into effect from 1st April 2016

Wed 27th, Jan

On 1 April 2016 the National Living Wage will become law. The Government is urging businesses to prepare early for the changes and make sure they follow these four simple steps:

  • Know the correct rate of pay - £7.20 per hour for staff aged 25 and over
  • Find out which staff are eligible for the new rate
  • Update the company payroll in time for 1 April 2016
  • Communicate the changes to staff as soon as possible.

 

The National Living Wage will provide a direct boost to over one million workers in the UK this year – rewarding and providing security for working people.

By taking these measures, companies will be able to properly reward their staff and avoid falling foul of the law when it takes effect.

The new National Living Wage is a key part of the Government’s plan to continue to move to a higher wage, lower tax and lower welfare society, building a more productive country and giving families the security of well-paid work.

You can find out more by clicking here. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @bisgovuk and the hashtag #NationalLivingWage.

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New regulations for international exporters from July 2016

Posted by Joanne Jones

Commodities Director, Warrant Group

  • T: 0151 955 0627
Tue 26th, Jan

In 1914 the first version of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea known as SOLAS, was created. Responding directly to the sinking of the Titanic, it featured regulations for the safety of merchant ships.

Regarded as the most important international treatise of its kind for the shipping sector, new regulations under SOLAS come into force on July 1st 2016 which legally require shippers to accurately submit the verified gross weight of a seaboard container.

With some container weights being incorrectly declared in recent years, the new data is expected to help ships accurately plan weight distribution to avoid overloading and, in worst case scenarios, vessels capsizing or running aground.

There been widespread concern however among exporters, freight forwarders and the logistics sector that the new requirements will cause considerable disruption to supply chains as well as additional costs.

The practicalities of meeting the new regulations can be managed in two ways.

For exporters of general bulk cargoes such as scrap metal and un-bagged grain which already have weighing procedures in place, existing documentation and audit trails should be sufficient to meet the new requirements.

Alternatively, for shippers which have audited procedures in place such as ISO, AEO, MCA or an ERP system, the requirements are a little more complicated and less familiar. The weight of the goods, the weight of the packing material as well as the tare weight of the container will need to be recorded separately and submitted.

Liability for meeting the new regulations will lie with the shipper named on the Bill of Lading documentation which could be the exporter or even the forwarder.

Some sections of the logistics sector have suggested that a five per cent tolerance over the accuracy of the submitted data would be acceptable however if all containers were loaded using the maximum tolerance, it could compromise safety.

Adapting existing working practises and using electronic data transfer would certainly help companies manage the new regulations which may prove not as difficult to implement as first anticipated.

Interested in becoming an International Strategic Partner? Email membership@liverpoolchamber.org.uk for more info.

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Posted by Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group

Tue 26th, Jan

At The PC Support Group we were pleased to win Network Computing Awards “Service Provider of the Year 2015” title.  Let’s tell you why – but first, let’s explain a little about us. There’s a point to this, so please bear with us…

• We specialise in “corporate quality” IT support to SMB’s throughout the Northwest.

• Our unique structure combines advanced support technology with local, friendly, professional delivery. A flexible, high quality service at an affordable price. Our unwavering focus is to remove our client’s concerns about their computers and anything that communicates with, runs on, or connects to them.

• We monitor and manage all our clients’ computers simultaneously and proactively prevent problems before they occur – saving time and money.

• We don’t patronise our clients, orconfuse them with technical jargon. Our staff understand people and business, not just technology, providing superb support and a level of service that’s the envy of the industry.

• The PC Support Group is a member of the Apple Consultants Network – with qualified engineers providing Apple Mac support/assistance with other Apple devices. The sheer scope, scale and quality of our offer makes us different, and makes us the best.

That’s aLONG marketing message! Too much for Twitter’s meagre word count and our target market wants something they have TIME to read! That’s where awards come in and why it’s been fantastic to win something every year.

“Award-Winning IT Support” encapsulates what we do and that we’re excellent at it.

We’ve won many awardsby passing scrutiny by a judging panel but those won by vote are also useful.  Writing to contacts, telling them we’ve been nominated and requesting their vote is away to remind people who we are and that we’re good enough for a nomination! Word is circulated via social media too!

Awards evenings ensure plenty ‘tweetable’ material– especially winning! The photo of us collecting atrophy that says people believe in our excellence enough to vote in droves!

Then it’s time to write again, thankingcontacts for voting, to put news out via social media, press releases, the chamber. The winner’s logo is fixed on our website, e-mails and literature.

We chose for our Social Media headers a photo of our team holding aloft all the accolades we’ve worked so hard for – from Excellence in Customer Service to being listed in the Top 100 Managed Service Providers in the world.  They say a picture paints a thousand words!

Nothing says you’re superb at what you do as quickly and easily as an award and we’re grateful to everyone who ever nominated, or judged us ‘outstanding’ over the years.

Get YOUR entries in for 2016.

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Mon 25th, Jan

Global philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates joined Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in Liverpool today, to jointly announce a £3bn drive to rid the World of Malaria, with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine at the heart of the plan.

The plan will aim to see malaria deaths reduce by 90% by 2030, on a path to malaria free world. The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine was the World’s first institution dedicated to research and teaching in the field, with a research order book today of over £210 million, making it a natural and essential partner.

Bill and Melinda Gates have ploughed money into the World famous institution before, investing over £30m into its groundbreaking research back in 2010.

The latest initiative will see the UK team up with their foundation in ploughing £3bn into research and ideas to eradicate Malaria, with £140m being invested this year from the foundation.

Highlighting Liverpool’s track record at this morning’s launch, Bill hailed the plan “taking the best of science, which Liverpool is an example of, we can get malaria deaths to zero.”

Founded over 115 years ago, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is also set to undergo an expansion via a £25m laboratory development that will enable innovative research into antibiotic resistance, meaning that Liverpool is both now at the heart of global fights against Malaria and the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, cementing the city’s Worldwide reputation for leading science.

Today’s announcement shows Liverpool as a powerful Northern Powerhouse contributor of global significance, where local industry and institutions can make a real and lasting impact.

Read more news from Reddbridge Media

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Posted by Paul Thompson

Owner of Paul Thompson's Consultancy

Wed 13th, Jan

In a world of advanced technology, competitive marketing strategies and customer monitoring, using data effectively has never been more important for business growth.

Whilst the goal of any Data Manager should be to produce good quality information or research data, you don’t need to be an expert to ensure your data is of the highest order.

Read my top tips to help get you well on your way to better data management.

  1. The most important element of data management is to record the receiving of data capture forms and tracking its progress. Spreadsheets are a great way to do this as they are user friendly and have a number of functions.
  2. Ensure all new staff complete system training so that new staff do not make errors when processing data.
  3. Monitor errors and the reason as to why errors are occurring. Make sure the errors are resolved.
  4. Ensure productivity testing is carried out on an annual basis to avoid system inefficiency.
  5. Ensure there is a tested contingency plan in place.
  6. Create a culture of data quality owner ship so that Data Clerks and Data Managers take responsibility for the quality of the data.
  7. Ideally, all data quality audits should be carried out externally and not by the same person to avoid unrepresentative data.

For all your data management solutions, visit Paul Thompson’s Consultancy website at www.ptc-consultancy-itspecialist.co.uk

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Going into 2016 this is a vital question for every business.

Posted by Ben Pinnington

Director at Polaris Media Management Ltd

Fri 08th, Jan

The starting point is that every company brand communicates messaging whether you mean to or not. If your company brand is not reinforced by clear marketing, the messaging you give out can be bland and weak leading the market to not truly understand you.

 Some points to consider:

* How is your company currently known by the market?

* What is the perception of your reputation and quality?

* Is your company perceived to have momentum - is it seen to be growing in popularity?

* Does the market understand all the services you offer?

* Does the market appreciate your unique selling points?

* What forms of marketing reach your target customers and positively raise your brand profile? ie: publicity, e-newsletters, social media, networking, trade fairs, advertising, presentations, client referrals.

 Polaris’ advice:

  • think hard about your unique selling points. Review them, test them and work out which grab people. What genuinely makes you different and gives you a competitive edge. Build your brand by repeating these in marketing consistently.
  • ensure your brand reflects the personality of the business. What matters to you? Quality, customer service, investing in your workforce, caring about your community? Whatever it is make sure your marketing reflects this.
  • use every marketing tool available to promote your brand messaging. You have to tell the marketplace you exist. You have to stand out. Do not fade into the crowd of dull, quiet mediocrity. You are passionate about what you do. So reach out to the market place and communicate that passion. Publicity remains one of the most effective ways of raising your brand to a mass audience.

CASE STUDY: CAMMELL LAIRDAbove pictured: Cammell Laird built the flight decks for the new QUEEEN ELIZABETH CLASS aircraft carriers reflecting its world-class facilities and workforce.

  • Polaris client Cammell Laird is a strong example of a company that knows exactly what its brand is about. Under clear leadership the Cammell Laird of today consistently promotes the standard of its work, its investment in apprentices, its multitude of charity works and the calibre of facilities. Importantly it clearly explains to the marketplace what it does now. This is critical as the company has a mighty history of ship building, dating back the 1830s, which can lead to misconceptions. The fact is Cammell Laird is fundamentally different now to what it was in the past. Today the company is diversifying, it no longer solely builds ships. It still excels in ship repair, refit, conversion and ship building. However, Cammell Laird can also offer its world class workforce, facilities, supply chain and unique geographical position to build modules for the civil nuclear sector as well as support the building and servicing of offshore windfarms.Cammell Laird uses a wide range of marketing to promote its brand including publicity, trade fairs, newsletters, presentations, social media and event sponsorship.

         So what does 2016 hold for your world-class brand?

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