Nobody Knows Your Business Like You Do!

Over the last 15 years outsourcing has developed at a very fast pace. Unfortunately, what has not developed at the same speed is speed is the development and implementation of Best Business Practices and the according standard processes and procedures. This in return results in uncoordinated efforts and lack of understanding of the whole process. Third party service providers will try to sell outsourcing as a win-win situation, but this is not always the case. A majority’s outsourcing efforts are implemented through “trial and error” and there for a more costly than expected.Sixty-nine percent of companies outsource IT services. Outsourcing of application development and maintenance ranges from 15% for CRM, ERP 25%, another 25% for business processes, and 27% for other applications.Statistics about outsourcing provides us with a positive picture but more and more businesses are disappointed with their outsourcing efforts, according to new research.Companies express frustration with the quality of work being provided, according to a survey, but most businesses still said they chose the cheapest outsourcing option instead of the best quality.The question is why are companies frustrated with quality of work provided. What are the reasons behind that frustration? There can be many reasons. Reasons can be:Language issues
Geographical problems
Cultural problems
Infrastructure and Operational problems
Lack of procedures and controls
No or poorly defined Service Level Agreements (SLA)
Lack of or poorly defined Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
Lack of guidance and follow-up
Failure to understand the business model, processes and expectationsSome of these listed issues may have a bigger issue on your business than others depending on the type of service that has been outsourced.In my 12+ years of outsourcing experience the lack of guidance and follow-up by the Outsourcing Organization led to a failure of understanding the business model, the processes and expectations by the Outsourcing Partner. Yes, you read right – The Outsourcing Partner. It is important to see the organization/provider you outsourcing to as a partner rather than just a service provider.Service Providers are organizations that provide services that do not directly have an impact on your business and its day-to-day operations. Service providers are banking services, payroll services, cleaning services, mail and package delivery services and other business services that have are not part of your core business model. Even certain outsourced IT services fall into these categories. Again, some of the above services may be critical to the success of your business and at that time they must shift from Service Provider to Outsourcing Partnerships.Outsourcing Partnerships must be established with any organization that provides services, which are part of your core business model and have a direct impact on the overall success and profitability of a business. These can be services like Customer Service, Supply Chain Management, Warehousing, Logistics (3PL Services), Software Development and more.It is not that a “regular service provider” is less important to a business than a outsourcing partner that provides core business services. The difference is that a Service Provider will need less controls and less of an understanding of the core business processes. Some of these services have standard service levels they provide and not necessarily have exactly specified KPI’s and the according control mechanisms in place.There for let us concentrate on a typical outsourcing partnership and the requirements to make it a success.First we need to evaluate why so many business fail in outsourcing. Over the years, I have managed many outsourcing initiatives. At some I participated from the get-go and some either after they had failed or were about to fail. The number one reason has always been that the business, which was outsourcing services, did not communicate their expectations well enough. At the same time the organization, which became the provider of the outsourced services did not understand what was expected from them completely. The reasons have been multitude, but eventually always boiled down to lack of communication. The majority of organizations see outsourcing just as a personnel cost cutting measure and hand off all responsibilities to their third party service provider. Outsourcing initiatives, which are handled in such manner are for sure doomed to fail and will leave at the same time the impression that outsourcing does not work. This is why outsourcing has left such a negative impression with many people and organizations.Often outsourcing projects will fail from the get-go, because an outsourcing relationship is established at the wrong level. Management is negotiating not only terms but also requirements with a sales department whose focus is to make the sale, without understanding 100% what is expected. Terms, SLA and KPI are negotiated and agreed upon before processes have been defined, communicated and put in place. It is imperative to have from day 1 all the people in the boat that are affected by the outsourcing measure. These folks really do understand their business.I can attest that outsourcing can work and will work if done for the right reasons and if done the right way. I have successfully managed and participated in various outsourcing initiatives, like:Outsourcing of customer-service-call-centers to offshore third party service providers, as well to onshore and nearshore providers.
Outsourcing of data center monitoring and support.
Outsourcing of data center replication and backup for data center redundancy and disaster recovery. At the same time improving the sustainability of not only the IT organization within the business but also the sustainability of the business itself in case of natural disasters or other unforeseen catastrophic events.
Outsourcing of Warehousing, Logistics and Supply Chain Management to Third Party Logistics (3PL) providers.
Outsourcing of certain Accounts Payable and Receivable functions.In many cases, outsourcing may not save you money but may improve your service levels without investing in more resources. This in return, over time, will improve company performance, reputation or brand awareness and hopefully profitability.It is highly recommended to engage not only reputable third party organizations that provide the to be outsourced services, but also to hire a person that has experience in managing and handling outsourcing projects. The person to be hired should not only know the does and don’ts of outsourcing but also be aware of the Structure of Outsourcing. It is also imperative to assure that your business model and the business processes that are to be outsourced make sense to be outsourced. A skilled person that has vast experience in outsourcing will be able to help to make this determination.

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Security Companies and Their Relationship to Local Law Enforcement

The authority of security guards and security companies is extremely limited, which makes it essential to cooperate effectively with local law enforcement. The duties of security officers are mostly limited to preventing crime by being visible and vigilant and to observing and reporting. If a crime is in progress or has been committed it law enforcement should be called immediately with a detailed and specific report. It is not the responsibility of security officers to approach and apprehend perpetrators. It is very important that guard schools, field supervisors and post orders stress that fact. Security guards trying to take on the responsibilities of a police officer will put them into unnecessary danger and increase the security companies and their client’s exposure to liability.A security company and its security guards must delegate the apprehension and confrontation of criminals to local law enforcement. In many cases security guards work in banks, jewelry stores and other locations where police will quickly respond to reports of crime. In other cases security guards work in shopping centers and residential or residential areas where the crimes committed are less serious like petty theft, panhandling and domestic disturbances. Normally local law enforcement will be hesitant to respond to such crimes immediately, because they are busy and have limited resources. They will respond to lesser crimes when they have the time and resources available and no other more pressing task is imminent. In many cases the police will respond very hesitantly, because panhandling and loitering are so commonplace in some cities that it is impossible to be controlled by the police. If the police really went after each offender they would have no time and resources for anything else.It is the responsibility of the security consultant and the security company to establish a good relationship with local law enforcement. The first day the security company starts service at a new location local law enforcement should be notified and the security consultant should introduce himself to the commanding officers. That will ensure better communication in the future and the security consultant might gain invaluable information about challenges and risk factors in the area. A good relationship will also improve response times in case the police are called and improve the attention the police officers are giving to a specific property when they are conducting their regular patrols.A security company should not solely focus on providing well trained and professional security officers, but it should identify risk factors and provide security plan to mitigate such risk factors. Really good security companies will incorporate local partners like the police department, fire department and city hall in their security plan. In most cases people in public service are more than happy to establish relationships and to help by providing their time and resources. Customers hiring a security company should make sure that their company understands the importance of relationship building otherwise they will not be effective providing security services.

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Battery for Alarm System

Today’s alarm systems depend on batteries more than ever. The home alarm system has always had a back battery for the control panel. These batteries would furnish power in case your home experienced a power loss. In this event the alarm system would still function for a time and continue to provide protection for your home.With today’s wireless alarm systems the battery is even more critical than ever before. Every wireless device is powered by a battery. If your wireless device has a battery that is weak the system will generate a trouble that will alert you of the problem and where the problem exists. This is another reason to have an accurate zone list for your alarm system. The last thing you want is to be chasing a low battery signal and not be able to replace the correct battery.What Happens when Power is Lost?Your home security system is normally operating on house current or AC. The backup battery is checked by the control panel for the proper operating voltage. If the voltage goes below a base level then the control panel will generate a system battery trouble. If the AC to your control panel is lost then a different trouble will be generated that will indicate AC loss.How Long Does My System Backup Battery Last?There is no exact estimation of how long your system battery will last. It depends on the A/H Amp Hour rating of your battery and the total current draw of your alarm panel. This is typically based on the number of devices connected to your system. Typically without an alarm condition your alarm system will easily operate for a 24 hour period. If your alarm system is triggered while using your battery backup the backup period will be much less. If your system remains in battery backup mode for an extended period of time and your battery goes dead it is best to replace the system battery. When you have a new alarm system battery the warranty is typically for one year.How long do Wireless Batteries Last?There is a wide variety of batteries utilized in wireless alarm systems. They range from your standard double batteries to 9 volt. The newer wireless devices use a much smaller battery such as a lithium 3v battery. These batteries allow for a much thinner device which blends in well with your home. The length of time that your devices will last depends on how often the device is used. Your wireless devices are in stand by a lot of the time to conserve the batteries but they are always ready to perform when they are called upon to do so. A good estimate of time would be approximately 1 year. A good rule of thumb is to replace your batteries once per year. This can be expensive depending on the size of your system. You can wait until the devices report a low battery condition. If you start to see a number of devices that are reporting low battery it is best to simply replace all of the device batteries or at a minimum make sure to purchase all of the batteries that you would need. By purchasing a larger amount you can save money and you know that you will eventually need them.Testing Your Alarm System Battery BackupEvery alarm system that is installed has a statement in your owner manual that says that you should test your alarm system monthly. It is your responsibility to ensure that your system is functioning properly. You must inspect what you expect. In years of servicing alarm system I have never found anyone that tests their alarm system as frequently as they should. Once per month may be a bit of overkill but never should not be an option. If you are replacing your battery because of a low battery condition then the trouble should go away on its own. Some systems will take a few hours for this to happen because the control panel does not test for battery voltage continuously. If you want the trouble to clear right away you will need to unplug the battery and remove the power from the panel. Always plug the battery in first and then restore system power. The trouble should be clear as the system powers back up.You should test your system on battery at least some of the time. In order to test your system with the battery backup you will need to disconnect system power. Then arm your system and set it into alarm. Allow the system to ring the alarm siren until it cuts off automatically. Then you can disarm your system. Make sure that you notify your alarm monitoring company before you test your system. If the control panel does perform adequately during testing then you may need to replace your alarm battery.How Do I Replace My Batteries?Whenever you do any work on your alarm panel make sure that you contact your monitoring company and put the system in test. They will ask you how much time you will need. Make sure you overestimate the time because you should call in when you are finished and remove the system from test.Here are the steps to replace your battery:1. Call to have the system placed on test2. Remove the leads from the battery3. Remove system powera. You can do this by removing the system transformer from house power orb. You can remove one power lead from the control panel. Make sure that you do not short the lead out on any other terminals or touch the cabinet. You can put a wire nut on the loose lead or put a piece of electrical tape on the bare wire.4. Remove the old battery5. Install the new battery and plug the leads back in. Make sure that you observe the proper polarity when replacing the leads.6. Always plug the battery in first!7. Then plug the transformer back in or replace the removed power wire.The alarm system will power back up and everything should be normal. Make sure to call the monitoring company when everything is complete and remove the system from test mode.What does the A/H rating mean?All security systems are 12 volts unless your alarm system is very, very old. Fire alarm systems are 24 volts. Batteries are rated for the amount of voltage they supply and they have an amp hour rating that will tell you how long a battery will operate for based on the current draw.A battery with a capacity of 1 amp-hour should be able to continuously supply a current of 1 amp to a load for exactly 1 hour, or 2 amps for 1/2 hour, or 1/3 amp for 3 hours, etc., before becoming completely discharged. You should replace an existing battery with the same amp hour rating but you can go higher and lower in a/h rating and your system will still work. Keep in mind that the higher amp hour rating batteries are physically larger and may not fit in the space available in your control panel. A higher amp hour rating will allow your system to have a longer back up period. The newer all in one alarm panels will require the exact replacement batteries.

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Fake References: A Dangerous Web Service For Job Seekers

First and foremost, this is a warning to both job seekers and employers… It is in no way a recommendation that anyone use fraudulent references.Several websites have begun to offer phony reference services for job seekers. At first glance, this may look like a good idea to overcome spotty work history. However, it is a risky move. Every employer has – or should have – a policy of immediate termination for lying on resumes and applications.One of these services, Career Excuse, encourages candidates to create their own work history, tailored to their desired field. For a fee and ongoing subscription, the website will provide references, work history verification and other fictitious documents to support the falsehoods in a candidate’s resume. Disturbingly enough, they even offer phony funeral excuses.However, these services do not guarantee that they will stand up to a rigorous background check. In fact, many of these services carry a disclaimer that they will assume that the information provided by the job seeker is true. This creates a reflective action back on the job seeker, thereby absolving the fake reference provider. In other words, they state that their information is only as good as the statements created by the candidates.To avoid this trap, a thorough HR department will confirm work histories, criminal checks and education verification through their own resources, not just the phone numbers provided by the candidates. And they have the legal right to do so.When a job seeker signs either an online or paper application, he is signing a legal document. It is not merely a formality, especially when employers include certifications like the one below to gain permission for the background check:”I, _____ (the candidate), hereby certify that the facts set forth in the above employment application are true and complete to the best of my knowledge. I authorize XYZ Company to verify their accuracy and to obtain reference information on my work performance. I hereby release XYZ Company from any and all liability of whatever kind and nature which, at any time, could result from obtaining and having an employment decision based on such information. I understand that, if employed, falsified statements of any kind or omissions of facts called for on this application shall be considered sufficient basis for dismissal.”This means that the candidate is granting the potential employer the right to conduct a thorough background check. Any discrepancies can cost the candidate the job offer or even employment if he has already been hired before the falsehood is discovered.In addition to checking references, the employer may require employment verification, education verification, criminal background checks and drug screening. A credit check may be run in some situations, specifically when the potential employee will have any contact with financial information or actual funds.Considering the severe penalties, it is not recommended that any candidate provide knowingly fraudulent materials or references to get a job. Eventually, the truth will catch up in brutal and legal ways.(c) 2011 Donna Shannon

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Get Student Loans With Bad Credit: A Rundown of Your Basic Options

When you are interested in going to school in order to enhance your education, the stress of paying for that education can sometimes be more than many people can bear. However, even if you have bad credit, student loans are readily available for your use. In fact, many student loans require no credit check at all and public or government-backed student loans are virtually guaranteed. This article will give you the basic run down of how to get money to pay for your college education, despite your bad credit score.Bad Credit and LoansIt is a generally recognized fact that trying to obtain a loan with bad credit is nearly an impossible task. Lenders use a person’s credit score in order to assess whether or not that person is reliable as a borrower and judge them based on that number alone. Or so many people think.However, the process of determining who does and does not receive a loan is much more complicated than simply looking at a credit score. Oftentimes, a creditor will take into account both the circumstances that led to your bad credit as well as the type of loan that you want. In the case of a student loan, the thought is that the increased income you receive as a result of your education will more than compensate for the risk the lender is taking by giving you a loan. Basically, he is relying on your increased income to supplement the loan he offers.Types of Loans AvailableThere are two main types of student loans to avail. The first is a government-sponsored loan which requires no credit check. These loans, also called Stafford Loans, are given to a student based on his status as a student only. The other qualifications for a Stafford Loan are really simple. They include:Completing a FAFSA form.
Being a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident or a qualified non-citizen.
Attending a participating institution at least half time.
Being current on the repayment of all other student debt.That’s it. You can be in debt in other areas, such as credit cards or personal loans, but as long as you have no other student loans or are currently repaying the ones you do have, you are all set for a Stafford Loan. There is no credit check required which means that your bad credit score will not have any bearing on your qualification for funds. The only determination that your application will secure is the amount of money you will be eligible to receive and whether or not the interest on that loan will be subsidized or unsubsidized. This determination is based on need alone.Private Student LoansYou should always look into getting a government-sponsored student loan first since the interest rates on those loans are both low and fixed. However, if you find yourself still needing additional funds for school, private lenders can also help. These lenders will offer additional student loan funds to you based on a number of factors. Though this time credit will come into play, the fact that you are using this money for school will impact a lender’s decision. If you are interested in receiving a private student loan, bad credit is not a barrier. However, do realize that there will be penalties.Funding Your EducationOverall, funding your college education is possible with student loans. Your bad credit will not matter in many cases, as no credit check is required when applying for federal loans. Also, additional funds can be acquired from private lenders that will take the use of these loans – your education – into account over your bad credit score.

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