Greening Your Plant Operations

Companies everywhere are adopting green plant strategies. To save money steel plants are using steel made of 15 percent to 20 percent recycled material. Recycling all fall-off from steel and wood also helps in the saving process. There is a way to convert liquid waste into fuel and other usable recyclable products. Reducing any machine idling for more than 3 minutes is a viable money saving tool.

To save energy companies are using efficient lighting and LED illumination and are reducing packaging and boxing of products by 75 percent. There are many recycling options that reduce landfill waste from building up unnecessarily. An Amish community uses only hybrid and electric vehicles for factory runs. Woodworking manufacturers are winning the Challenger Award by extracting volatile organic compounds from finishing lines and converting them into electrical energy.

Saving materials is another vital component to maintaining an environmentally sound industry. Manufacturers of metal recycle their scraps. In fact, every bit of scrap is recycled, making the metal industry the oldest recycling business in the United States. Some companies have gone a step further by recycling water, zinc and acid. Manufacturers reuse materials from rejected parts. A process known as regrind. PVC can also be recycled, but is not always regarded as 100% recyclable because not every recycling center will take it.

Retailers and manufacturers must meet future environmental compliance by saving money and producing more eco-friendly methods.

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Protecting Products During Transportation

Business fixtures and products need to arrive intact, but often during shipping these valuable items are damaged. Transportation providers share advice on preventing damage during transport.

Using a professional transporting service is highly recommended. Retailers and customers often choose the least expensive carrier and disregard qualifications and experience. This choice proves to be a costly mistake when the products are damaged on route. An example fo excessive damage occurred this past year when a brand new marketer’s wall displays were shipped by a common inexpensive carrier. With no loading docks at most of the sites, the products were brought through the smaller sized doors in two pieces. Most of the units sustained damages.

The advice is to evaluate your needs and select the best carrier for your particular transportation. It is important to hire the appropriate transportation company for the specific type of carrying need. Packaging is also an important aspect of properly transferring merchandise. All things need to be considered from the type of truck, to the packaging supplies and the qualifications of the loading and unloading crew.

The transportation of choice should have a good on-time record and the proper equipment to handle your specific needs.

Planning ahead is also an essential component to damage prevention. The planning phase of the transportation can save a lot of time, costs and hassles. Agreement from all parties concerning packaging can pay huge dividends in the end. Display deliveries should be scheduled so that the products can be placed in the proper area immediately so damage doesn’t occur on the loading dock. During the loading and unloading procedure all crews should have the proper equipment, including dollies, hand trucks, work gloves, back braces and ramps.

Communication among all parties is also important. For example, all drivers should be informed of the product that they are transporting. This will limit damage. The weight, quantity and dimensions need to be disclosed prior to any delivery.

All loads need to be handled with care. The manner in which products are loaded is imperative to quality transportation. There is an art to loading and unloading. One way to improve the process is to videotape your current techniques and compare them to other loading methods.

Products can arrive at retail stores intact by using professionals, planning ahead, communicating specific needs, and handling all loads with care.

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Transportation Expenses Rise

Due to higher than anticipated fuel prices, transportation costs have increased. Transportation now accounts for 62% of all logistics costs. The overall shipping capacity has dropped due to the federal hours of service regulations for the truck drivers.

Retailers are now shifting towards different modes of transportation, by improving the use of trailers and partnering with carriers.

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Traditional vs. Alternative Fuel Channels

It is a well known fact that consumers will drive miles out of their way to save money. The Insights Marketing Group studied what goes into the consumers’ decision making about their fuel purchases.

The study concluded that consumers used to opt for the traditional gas stations for fuel. Now hypermarkets are the biggest alternative fuel channel. Essentially, consumers search for convenient, multiple use shopping centers.

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The Future of Motor Fuels

The future of motor fuel is an ever changing concept. There are many alternative fuels now available. Some of the more popular choices include biofuels, ethanol, hydrogen, coal oil and retrofitting.

Retailers need to stay informed with the latest transportation trends. The motor fuel industry is an important aspect of business supply, pricing and infrastructure issues.

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Storage Ideas

Customers can benefit greatly from good storage ideas. For example, many clients enjoy buying products, but once home they don’t know how to organize them.

Knowing which type of storage pieces are best to hold such things as scrapbook materials, craft projects or video items is the key to organizational success and serves as an essential tool to offer consumers.

It is important for retailers to identify the best storage bins for their customer’s specific needs. A few creative organization ideas and maybe even a little customer guidance can go a long way.

When a customer feels organized the customer is more likely to come back to your store to buy purchase more items.

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Market Merchandising

Supermarkets have most of the merchandise that shoppers want, but many of the products get lost in the shuffle. The aisle structure gets in the way of sales.

Supermarkets need to do a better job of showing off the new products. They need to take notes from the convenience stores by making products easy to see. Some ways to increase product visibility is to pursue aisle opitmization and use cross merchandising strategies.

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Digital Media on the Counter

Level Vision is a small sized digital media device that is conveniently placed on level surfaces. The latest product is Counter Vision, a smaller, countertop version of Level Vision (previously called IntelliMat). Retailers can place the Level Vision product on their sales countertops to provide easy network access with a well designed feel.

The Vision products are wireless computers embedded into counter displays with network capabilities. So far, Counter Vision has been used as a prototype, but the company is targeting convenience and drug stores.

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Stores Dedicate More Space to High-Def Discs

Video store retailers are going mainstream by organizing their shelves to promote the high-definition discs as the number of HD DVD and Blu-Ray disc formats continue to be released.

Amazon.com, Best Buy, Trans World, Virgin Megastores and others are promoting both formats to appease all consumers. Many retailers are choosing supply both until customers request something different.

Virgin is working with high-def backers from both camps to set up high-def demo areas in their stores. There is also talk in the industry of stepping up the profiling of both formats to include LCD or plasma store displays.

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Employees Bringing in Business

If you want to bring in more business, motivate employees through contests. Both full and part-time employees can participate in a special value card contest. The cards are used as incentives to make business sales increase.

Each card, with the proper disclaimers added, are distributed to all employees at the beginning of the month. The employees then pass out the cards, on their own time, to new customers only. The cards offer in-store discounts and new customers redeem the cards at the counter. The cards are collected and counted at the end of the month. Prizes are distributed accordingly, with all participating employees receiving some type of recognition.

The contest is an innovative way to bring in new business and breathe new life into the employees.

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