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For the Small Business

Small businesses have supply chain management issues that can be as daunting as those for global enterprises. The articles listed here will be interest to small businesses owners trying to implement an efficient and successful supply chain.

Exporting And The Global Supply Chain
The supply chain incorporates all aspects of moving material from the vendor through the manufacturing process to the final customer. The supply chain is no longer contained within countries borders, but encompasses all nations, whether they are vendors, manufacturers or customers. This article will examine the ways in which companies can export their products to new markets.

Strategies For A Successful ERP Implementation
Every company that embarks on an implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) project hopes that the implementation will be a success; on time and on budget. There are a number of critical success factors that could help ensure that success of a typical ERP project. This article highlights some of the most important strategies that...

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
When your company communicates with your customers the process can involve many different people within both organizations using a variety of different methods. To ensure that your company can provide the best customer service experience possible the use of customer relationship management (CRM) software should be considered. This article examines the elements that are found in CRM software.

Customer Service
Customer service is an important element for making a successful business. You can have a wonderful product, but without excellent customer service the item will never be purchased. The customer interacts with a company through a number of channels and the level of service that is afforded the customer goes a long way to achieving customer satisfaction and in turn more orders for the company. This article looks at the key elements for a world class customer service strategy.

Contract Termination
When you negotiate a contract with a supplier the terms of the contract specify details such as the quantity to be purchased, pricing, discounts, and delivery instructions. The contract will also contain clauses on what the procedure is to cancel the contract for certain reasons. This article looks at the ways in which a purchasing contract can be terminated.

Buy or Lease Equipment
A manufacturing company that is setting up or needs to replace a piece of machinery has the choice to purchase a used item, or buy a new piece of equipment. If the item is customized for their use then a new item is the only real choice, but the company still has the option to purchase the item in cash or lease the item from the vendor.

Used Equipment
Manufacturing companies are dependent on equipment to create the finished goods that they sell. The capital investment in the equipment can be very high, it can take years to pay off and costly to maintain over its productive years. For many new or struggling manufacturing companies there is a decision to be made on whether to purchase new equipment or to purchase used equipment.

Dunnage
Dunnage is best described as material that is used to protect goods while they are in transit. This can mean packing material that is packed around an item in a shipping crate or dunnage bags that can be inflated to ensure that items to do not move when shipped. This article looks at the different types of dunnage available for shipping.

Carrier Pricing and Rates
The transportation industry can offer a complicated price structure when it involves moving commodities from one location to another. Each carrier has a price to move a class of commodity to one specific point to another specific point. A number of variables can make the decisions for a transportation manager very difficult when finding the best...

Reducing Transportation Costs
Transportation costs can be a significant part of a company’s overall logistics spend. With the increases in the price of fuel, the proportion allocated to transportation can be upward of fifty percent. Transportation costs are a major target for company’s to reduce and there are a number of transportation strategies that can be used by...

Accounts Payable
Every company has to purchase items for their business. For small businesses, purchases could be as simple as office supplies, but for large companies they may make hundreds or thousands of purchases a day. Whatever is purchased, it must be paid for and the accounts payable function of a company will ensure that the correct amount is paid to the vendor for the items or services.

Accounts Receivables
Every small business survives by ensuring that it is paid by its customers as soon the items are delivered or when the services have been provided. The accounts receivable is the amount of money that a company is owed by its customers, which is actually a form of credit that is extended to the customers. This article looks at the basics of accounts receivables.

Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is extremely important in an economy where the vendors are having to work hard to win new business and keep their existing customers. If a company fails to satisfy their existing clients there are many other vendors who would like the opportunity to win the business. This article looks at how vendors can win and retain...

Secrets Of Good Customer Service
Customer satisfaction is key to any company's success, but it is even more important for a small business. This article will show you some secrets of good customer service that not only make common sense, they make good business sense.

CARB Regulations
The state of California has some of the most strict emissions regulations in the nation. One of these is to require diesel trucks and buses that operate in California to be upgraded to reduce emissions, using a diesel particulate matter (PM) filter. The new regulation applies to privately and federally owned diesel trucks and buses.

Freight Forwarding
The main function of the freight forwarder is to act as an intermediary between the client who is hiring them and various transportation services that are involved in getting the product overseas to the customer. This article looks at the different services that a freight forwarder can offer.

Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI)
Vendor Managed Inventory or VMI is a process where the vendor creates orders for their customers based on demand information that they receive from the customer. The vendor and customer are bound by an agreement which determines inventory levels, fill rates and costs. This article describes the VMI process.

Service Recovery
With consumers being the angriest and most frustrated immediately after a confrontation, the comments posted online could be extremely harmful to a business. To diffuse any situation such as this, a company must train their staff on service recovery.

Planning Your Warehouse Layout
The layout of a warehouse may need to be changed to accommodate new product lines or to add greater flexibility to the warehouse operations. When a new warehouse layout is proposed a detailed planning process should be followed to ensure the success of the project. The planning process is discussed in this article.

Small Business Shipping
For small businesses it is a challenge to keep the costs of shipping items low. When negotiating with new customers, the cost of shipping is something that the customer wants to get as low as possible, but the company wants to get the customer to pay the actual cost.

Product Life Cycle
The product life cycle can be divided into several stages characterized by the revenue generated by the product. A life cycle can be very short or very long. Most products start in the product development stage. Companies develop new products all the time and a small percentage of those reach the market. This article describes the different stages in the product life cycle.

Market Segmentation
Market segmentation is the identification of parts of the market that are different. Segmentation gives a company a greater ability to better satisfy the needs of its customers. However, not all customers are the same and each has unique characteristics and requirements that may not be found in any other customer. This article examines some of the elements of market segmentation.

Sales Forecasting for the Small Business
Sales forecasting is especially difficult when you don’t have any previous sales history to guide you. In this article the author provides a detailed explanation of how to use three methods of sales forecasting.

Strategic Sales Planning for the Small Business
Small businesses need to seek out every opportunity to win sales. They can do this by using their competitive advantage. Creating a strategic sales plan will allow the small business owner to have that advantage over other businesses. This article will help you to develop a winning strategic sales plan.

Small Business Definitions
Small businesses are of great importance in any economy. The US government recognizes a number of different types of small business, such as Minority Owned, Woman Owned, Veteran Owned, and Service Disabled Veteran Owned. This article looks at the various small business definitions used in business today.

Customer Complaints
Customer complaints are something that every business will have to deal with at some time. This can be many hundreds of times a day or very seldom. However many customer complaints you receive, there are ways in which they should be dealt with to ensure that the customer will remain your customer, and order from you again.

Small Business Guide to Manufacturing
Small businesses are often not associated with manufacturing, however in the US small manufacturers can be found in all fifty states. Organizations such as the American Small Manufacturers Coalition (ASMC) exist to promote small manufacturers and to lobby government. This article examines some of the manufacturing processes that are used by small businesses.

SBA Business Financing
The Small Business Administration (SBA) was established in 1953 to help small businesses. They speak for small businesses in government and help with financing, education, and federal government procurement. This article examines the business financing programs offered by the Small Business Administration.

Competitive Intelligence
Competitive intelligence is used by companies across the world to help them grow by using information on competitors and customers. The information that is used must be relevant and current in order for it to be useful. It should also be obtained in an ethical and legal manner and used to help a company improve itself rather than to hinder the competition.

Negotiations
The negotiation of an order price, or delivery date is important to the profitability of your company. If every time a deal was being negotiated and your employees let the supplier or customers get everything they wanted as part of the negotiation then your company would fail. It is important that your employees have the skills needed to negotiate successfully.

Finding New Customers
Every business has to have customers to sell to so that a profit can be made. Sometimes companies have great services or products, but fail due to their of lack of ability in finding the right customers. There are a number of ways in which companies can find and retain customers, from cold calling to collaborating with other firms. This article will examine a number of these options.

SBA Business Counseling
The Small Business Administration (SBA) was established in 1953 to assist small businesses. The SBA has a number of focuses including assistance with financing, education, federal procurement, as well as be the voice of small business in government. This article looks at the counseling and training that is offered to small businesses by the SBA.

Risk Management Strategies
Risk management is a topic which many small businesses would imagine that they do not require, but they probably have already adopted some kind of risk management strategy without even knowing it. Large companies have departments that do nothing apart from plan and implement risk management to ensure that the company benefits from any risk that it takes.

Risk Assessment
Every company will encounter situations where there is some kind of risk. This can be an external event, such as a new competitor or new federal regulations, or a situation that arises within the company, such as issues with the company infrastructure. It is important for a company to perform some kind of risk assessment that will evaluate the risk and the potential opportunity.

Performing a Risk Assessment
When an organization has identified that it has a potential risk, it will either perform a risk assessment in house, or hire an independent company to carry out an assessment. There are many elements to a risk assessment that depend on the type of risk assessment required, but there is a process to be followed when carrying out an assessment.

Minimum Wage
Minimum wage is a very contentious political topic, with voters in a number of states voting to increase the hourly rate for millions of workers. The federal minimum hourly wage was set at $7.25 in 2009. However, as of 2014 there will be 21 states that have a minimum wage greater than the federal hourly rate.

Benefits of Prototyping
Prototyping is a process that manufacturing companies follow when they want to develop a new product. A company can make hundreds of prototypes before they find a specific example that can be taken forward to mass production.

Small Business Grants
Small business grants are usually only available for specific types of businesses or activities that the government wants to encourage. Examples of these activities include expanding child care centers, creating energy efficient technology, or developing marketing campaigns for tourism. These grants are awarded by state and local governments, not the Federal government - even if the funding is from the national level. The Federal government does not award grants to start or expand a small business.

Vendor Managed Replenishment
When a manufacturing company uses many components for their finished goods, they find that they can spend a lot of time in forecasting, ordering and receiving thousands of items. In many cases, these items are supplied by only a few vendors. As companies try to improve customer service and reduce costs, they are looking to their suppliers to provide them with a service such as Vendor Managed Replenishment (VMR).

Small Business Loans
Small businesses create 65% of all new jobs. For this reason, loans to small businesses keep the economy functioning. However, banks require a business to be show signs of success before lending money. This makes sense, because the bank wants to get a return on its investment.

Inventory Classification
It is beneficial for a business to classify the inventory in their warehouse so that they can make decisions based on the type of inventory they have. Many companies use some kind of ranking system to classify their materials in the warehouse, such as the ABC classification.

Market Segmentation Strategies
The market is often segmented by companies to satisfy the needs of the customer, improve growth opportunities, increase profits, and increase market share. One objective of market segmentation is to reduce the risk in choosing where, when, how, and to whom a product, service, or brand will be marketed.

Data Privacy for the Small Business
Small businesses, like large business will use data and so the issue of privacy is one that is extremely important and should not be overlooked. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates and oversees business privacy laws and policies that can impact consumers. Small businesses should comply fully with federal and state laws that cover data privacy.

Small Business Data Issues
Small businesses, by their nature, do not have endless funds and decisions have to be made on how to use their limited resources. However, it is important for small businesses to understand that they must protect their data otherwise, they could be subject to fraud, identity theft, or fall foul of business privacy laws.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration develops and enforces rules and regulations that relate to drivers, vehicles, and the carrier. As well as the enforcement of regulations, the FMSCA encourages the education of drivers and carriers. This article examines the work of the FMCSA.

Transport Documentation
When items are transported either domestically or internationally the delivery must be accompanied by the relevant documentation. The amount of documentation varies depending if the shipment is within the US or to another country. These documents include the freight bill, the bill of lading and the FOB terms of sale. This article examines these...

Compliance, Safety, Accountability
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) developed Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) to look at how data is collected, reported, and how it can improve safety for commercial motor vehicles (CMV). The CSA measures covers trucking companies, drivers, and shippers who hire third parties to move freight. This article examines...

Electronic Signature
The electronic signature, or e-signature, is the method that shows an electronic indication of intent to agree to a record, contract, or document. Most states in the US have adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). In addition, the passage of Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) at the federal level allowed the use of electronic records and electronic signatures in commerce.

Commercial Vehicle Size and Weights
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a part of the US Department of Transportation (DoT). It is responsible for the federal size and weight regulations for commercial motor vehicles (CMV). The regulations are found in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), 23 CFR Part 658. This article examines the size and weight limitations specified in...

Commercial Motor Vehicle Licensing
To drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as person is required to have a commercial driving license. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 required that drivers of commercial motor vehicles were qualified to drive such vehicles to ensure greater safety on the highways of the United States. This article looks at different aspects of...

Commercial Motor Vehicle Classification
Commercial trucks that operate on US highways can be classified based on their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). The classification is divided into eight classes, one through eight, although many people use the more generic terms, light duty, medium duty and heavy duty. This article examines the different types of truck classifications in the US.

Vehicle Fleet Costs
A company may make a decision to have an in-house vehicle fleet based on the needs of the company to get goods to customers as quickly as possible. However the convenience of having a vehicle fleet to transport items at a moment notice comes at a considerable price. This article looks at the cost of owning a fleet of delivery vehicles.

Onshoring
For many years companies who want to reduce the cost of the goods they manufacture have looked at offshoring their operations to nations where labor is cheaper but now labor costs are increasing as well as the costs of transportation. The onshoring trend has not produced jobs for many who were displaced by the massive offshoring, but some are hopeful that the offshoring trend can be reversed.

Why Small Business Needs Supply Chain Software
It is important for a small company to manage its supply chain in the most efficient, cost-effective and collaborative way possible. Small business is under pressure to reduce manufacturing costs and to help customers reduce their own costs. This article discusses the needs for small businesses to implement supply chain software.

Outsourcing for the Small Business
Small businesses can follow the lead of larger businesses by outsourcing their logistics function. This article examines why outsourcing logistics function makes sense when small and midsize companies grow larger or have special needs.

Reverse Logistics - Asset Recovery
Returns are not always due to products being defective. According to the Reverse Logistics Association (RLA), 75% of returns are not faulty. The RLA found that the main reason a product is returned is due to some kind of misinformation at the time of purchase. In this article, you'll see how returned material can actually help your bottom line.

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