How to outsource the right way

meetingThere are many benefits to outsourcing certain operations of your business. It can save you money, time and resources. That’s if you do it right though. Outsourcing can also be a source of frustration.

Outsourcing need not be a gamble, however. If you go about it the right way there is no reason you shouldn’t reap the rewards. Make sure you consider the following points to that you make the right decision regarding your business’ outsourcing needs.

Are you trying to save money?

Reducing costs is one of the main reasons to outsource. Sometimes it simply works out cheaper to outsource a particular operation, than to employ individuals or fund the department needed to do it in-house.

However, the aim isn’t always to save money. Sometimes outsourcing might cost you more than bringing it in-house, but it frees up other resources, such as time and personnel that are better utilised elsewhere. Sometimes, it is just easier to outsource a complicated procedure then try to acquire the skills yourself.

Either way, it is important that you are clear about why it is you are outsourcing. If it is to save money, then draw up a budget and make sure that this decision is worth it. If you have another objective in mind, make sure that it is worth the cost.

What are you outsourcing?

The general principle with outsourcing is that you only outsource your non-core business processes, in other words your nonessential functions. For example, if you are a freelance writer, you wouldn’t outsource the actual writing! However, if you started an import/export business, it would make sense to outsource your fleet management, especially at first.

This is a simple enough concept, but there actually have been instances where business did indeed outsource their core tasks, and did so successfully. This particular example helps to illustrate a successful example of shrew outsourcing:

Zalmi Duchman’s catering company, The Fresh Diet, at one point outsourced the actual food-making component. This isn’t that ludicrous. It gave his team the freedom to concentrate on sales and marketing, and during this time, the business grew by 400%.

Note, however, that this is more an exception to the rule than the rule itself. While it can be beneficial to outsource core tasks to focus more on administration and co-ordination, in general you would keep it in-house and outsource secondary processes.

Can you control quality?

If you are going to outsource, one of the key points to consider is the quality of the work. It goes without saying that you should check out the quality of your potential supplier beforehand, but it is more than that. Will you be able to monitor the quality afterwards as well?

Remember, if you are outsourcing to a third party and it causes a problem of quality with your service or product, you can’t very well say to your client that it’s not your fault and therefore not your issue.

Going back to The Fresh Diet catering company as an example, although outsourcing the food preparation proved so successful, after a while Duchman brought it in-house again.  He realised he would have to take back control of the kitchen if he wanted the business to grow, so that they could adapt the recipe however they wanted and better monitor the quality of the food.

What are the risks?

Before embarking on a partnership with a supplier, make sure you consider all the risks involved. For instance, and perhaps most importantly, there is the loss of control you have over what is being outsourced. How much could go wrong? Will you be able to fix the situation should your supplier fail to bring up their end? You need to employ a service provider you can trust and foster open communication with at all times, but it is also good to plan for the worst case scenarios.

Don’t let the potential risks turn you away from the idea though. Just look at your business’ unique situation carefully. Ultimately, you need to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages and figure out the right answer for your needs.

 

Copper theft: Still a major problem in Cape Town?

A few years ago, copper theft was a major problem for Cape Town. News headlines would scream daily about the most recent cases of government infrastructure and personal property stripped of copper by thieves. The most basic tools were left useless without their copper parts – taps wouldn’t turn – but it was the more serious thievery – copper taken from traffic lights and train lines – which left the city crippled.

 

Fighting copper theft

 

Much was done to stop this scourge. The City of Cape Town established the Copperheads, an elite task team of specially trained officers,  to follow up on leads of copper thieves and investigate scrapyards to ensure stolen property is not purchased. Copper thieves are usually desperate people who will steal cables and pipes to earn money, despite risk of serious injury and death. Identification is burned off the cables and sold to scrap dealers.

“The growth of the illegal trade in copper cable in Cape Town forms part of a larger global phenomenon. Although our city has no copper mines, over R77 million worth of copper leaves our shores each year,” says the City.

 

Cost to Cape Town

 

Both households and businesses have had their time and money wasted because of copper theft. “In the past 12 months alone, it has cost Cape Town ratepayers R22 million to replace and repair stolen and vandalized cables and equipment at substations, sewage pump stations, street lights and on other Council property. Besides the disruptions to the supply of electricity, the money that is wasted on cable theft could be better used to extend services to those Cape Town residents who don’t yet have electricity,” says the City.

 

Head of the Coppperheads, Pieter van Dalen, says: “Decisive action needs to be taken to deal with the theft of non-ferrous metal. Unless proper steps are taken, the continuing theft of copper cable will continue to undermine economic growth and development in South Africa.”

 

In August 2014 it was reported the City was looking to toughen copper theft laws. Whatever happened, it appears to be working. Recently, copper theft has not made the headlines as often as it did previously.

 

The do’s and don’ts of a security guard

Security guards are hired by the owners of the premises to ensure the protection of their patrons, staff and the property. They are also there to guarantee that the conditions of entry are met by customers by a particular place. They do not have the same power as law enforcement officers, however, a security guard’s main job is to regulate and enforce the rules of the premises.

What they are allowed to do

Security guards can ask for your identification to determine your age if there are conditions for entry at the venue regarding age. If you do not comply or they find out you have falsified your identity, they are allowed to kindly vacate you from the premises. Every job has rules and it’s their job to enforce those rules, so if you are not adhering to the rules of the premises, they will without a doubt refuse you entry, according to the rules of the premises.

According to Youth Law, a legal rights centre for youths, states that, “Signs of excess intoxication can warrant refusal into the premises. But they cannot discriminate against you because of your race, disability, sexual preference, or gender.”

Security guards are allowed to take you by the shoulders and escort you outside of the building, but they are not allowed to forcefully remove you to the point where it leads to a case of assault. There are many security jobs in Cape Town that provide skilful training where the right procedure is made to be followed so that there are aren’t any misconceptions.

What they are not allowed to do

A police officer and a security guard have two very different job descriptions and if you find that a security guard is violating his power of authority then you have the right to report him or her to management.  They only have authority to detain someone, until the police arrive, if the person is found to have committed an offence. Other than that, they cannot do more. They do not have the authority to ask for your name or address nor can they search you without your permission. However, they may ask your permission to search your bag before entering the premises, as condition of entry. If you should refuse, they are allowed you deny you access from entering.

 

 

In the case of assault by a security guard

In the event of assault by a security guard, you should report it immediately because he or she may disperse following the incident. Get there identification, as well as details of any independent witnesses. You can either report the incident to the building management or go to the police station to lay a charge of assault, to protect yourself from any further involvement.

Who are the trend setters?

manCelebrities, for starters have major influence on the masses to kick start a trend. Generally people who idealise these super stars will imitate their lifestyle and choices. That’s why it comes to no surprise that big brands will pay a huge sum of money to a celebrity for them to merely mention their brand. Journalists also have major influence on public opinion because they have the power to sway the masses in which every direction they want to. They control public opinion and it is believed that they always have the inside scoop, so how can they ever be wrong?

 

But they don’t set trends. They merely give it a push into pop culture. In actual fact the master minds behind these trends are stylists, designers and top executives.  Stylist and designers create the trends we follow, but executives decide which fads come and go.

 

Eban Human, a marketing analyst says, “It’s not famous people who bring in the popular trends like swag and class. It the top execs of the industry that decide what is hot and what is not, for a product to sell. It’s not only designer clothing that makes it into pop culture; it’s also internet sensations and trendy graphic designs.  Shopfitting in Johannesburg and Cape Town will follow the trend if they see what is hot right now because that’s the thing that will sell. Anything can be cool, if the execs want it to be. They ultimately have the power to influence because with it comes a lot of money.”

 

Sometimes it just so happens that these trends aren’t strategically planned. Sometimes it’s just pure luck for the stylist or designers for their creations to become trendy amongst the masses. Anything can go viral on the internet and before you can even wipe out your eyes, a new trend or person has become an overnight sensation. The internet has made it possible for everyone or anything to become popular, but whether or not the popularity lasts is another thing. That’s why celebs are used to keep up the fad or social movement. The ASL ice bucket challenge is a perfect example of how social movement can take place. Celebs started challenging each other to throw a bucket of ice water over their heads, while being filmed. All for a good cause, of cause. Not much later, millions of people participated and the ASL foundation made approximately $ 15 Million.

 

Not everyone can become trend setters, but certainly the majority of us can fall into following the trend. Those who have power to influence and persuade will always be known as the “trend setters,” but you will never really know who the master mind behind it is. All it takes is the right people to get involved and a whole bunch of internet followers these.

How do you know you’re ready to own a home?

homeBuying a home is an exciting step to take in life. However, it is not something that should be rushed before you are ready, otherwise it will be a constant source of regret and anxiety.

You might think yourself ready to buy and own property, but you won’t know for sure until you have asked yourself these questions.

Have you saved up enough?

While you might be able to qualify for a home loan without having savings for a sizable deposit, but that does not mean that it is the right thing to do. The bigger a down payment you can afford, the better mortgage rates you will qualify for, and the less you end up paying in the long run.

A 5% deposit is too low. The ideal scenario is having saved enough to be able to put down at least a 25% deposit. However, deposit on a new house isn’t all you should be saving for. The responsible thing to do is to have an emergency fund of at least three months of your income. If you don’t have enough saved for both a down payment and still have an emergency reserve, maybe you should wait and save more first.

Are you financial stable?

Owning your own property isn’t worth it if the monthly bond payments make such a strain on your finances that you will struggle in other areas for years to come. Or worse, defaulting on your payments later down the line and losing your house completely.

Too many people make the mistake of simply assuming that their paycheck will increase in a constant rate throughout the years. They therefore think they can afford something a little out of their price range now, because later on it will become easier and easier to pay.

That’s the wrong way to look at it. Unfortunately, salaries don’t always increase at the rate we expect them too. Ask yourself what you are able to afford right now, and whether you would still be able to afford it for 15 to 20 years even if you don’t make much more money. Use a bond repayment calculator to get a realistic idea of what you can afford to pay.

Are you ready to settle down?

It’s not all about finances. One of the most important questions to ask yourself is if you are ready to settle down. Owning property generally takes away some of your mobility and flexibility. What if you one day realise you would have liked to have lived overseas for a couple years or followed your love to another city. Once you own a home, you’re going to be rooted for quite some time.

These things are not impossible if you own property, but it does make it more difficult. So if you are young and still have some wanderlust in you, ask yourself if you are really ready to commit to owning property.

If you have saved up enough money for a sizable deposit while still retaining an emergency fund, you are confident of your financial stability, and ready to settle down and grow roots, then you can go ahead and start looking at property. If you have answered yes to all the above questions, you could be on your way to calling yourself a homeowner.

Future car security

The New York Times’ Nick Bilton recently reported that he watched his car get broken into. This would be unremarkable – if obviously horrible – if not for how the thieves were breaking in.

“Just saw 2 kids walk up to my LOCKED car, press a button on a device which unlocked the car, and broke in. So much for our keyless future,” Nick Bilton Tweeted.

Keyless cars are a new target of both thieves and, of course, security analysts. The advantages are built into the design of the vehicle. SafetyShutdown outlines what keyless car security looks like:

“if someone enters the car without a valid ignition key, they won’t be able to drive away. Many keyless systems also use rolling codes. A computer inside the vehicle recognizes the rolling code projected by the smart key, and then verifies it before starting the engine. BMW’s smart keys also use computer-encrypted microchips to ward off car thieves who want to exploit this technology.”

The disadvantages are also numerous. Though perhaps many traditional thieves might be put off by the keyless system – and perhaps be caught – they are wisening up to know which vehicles are keyless and which aren’t; this means they’ll avoid your car but more advanced thieves might not. Advanced thieves are more hackers than traditional burglars, using sophisticated technology to hack into the system – since they don’t require manual keys to unlock, merely a frequency and various other digital options that can be obtained through illegal, but possible, means. This is, after all, how the individuals broke into Bilton’s car.

The solution isn’t to abandon keyless cars, of course; every advance we make in terms of security – whether it’s our houses, our internet or our cars – will be targeted by the advancement of thieves, too. That is, progress applies across the board, unfortunately.

While it’s not necessarily the case that the cars today are safer than pre owned cars, there are clear signs that cars today are safer than they were thirty years ago.

Security is essential and we should always be focused on ways to make it better – whether as owners or manufacturers. Keyless cars aren’t just progress in terms of keys of course – tracking devices, GPS location, remote deactivation are also all in place. That is, even if someone manages to hack into your car, there are other kinds of advanced security options that can help prevent further theft or stop the current one.

If you’re interested in pre owned cars, contact Inspectacar http://www.inspectacar.co.za/contact-us