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Small and midsize companies are increasingly looking to outsource HR functions in order to focus on core operations and growing the business. “Companies have been moving that way as HR has become more complex — it’s no longer an HR person sitting in an office planning parties. There are complicated employee and compliance issues to address,” says Liz Howe, Director of Business Development at Benefitdecisions, Inc. “There are so many different laws being passed at the state and federal level that it can be a challenge for any HR team to keep up,” Howe says. Smart Business spoke with Howe …
Challenging times present opportunities for organizations to perform detailed assessments of their operations. Performing operational assessments can help organizations identify, mitigate and take advantage of the risks that they face. These assessments focus on process design and execution risks. “When properly performed, operational assessments identify areas where process design and execution risks are not aligned with an organization’s risk tolerance,” says James P. Martin, a managing director at Cendrowski Corporate Advisors LLC. Smart Business spoke with Martin to learn more about operational assessments.How can operational assessments help? Organizations must achieve a diverse set of strategic objectives. This is accomplished by…
ServicesFINALISTIt was the late 1980s, and companies were adopting the practice of just-in-time (JIT) inventory management. However, the model for the staffing industry did not address the complex service requirements of JIT clients.Michael Miles took notice of the situations and co-founded The Seaton Cos. in 1988 with fellow Arizona State University alumni and entrepreneur Hugh Farrington. Miles recognized that to be competitive, companies needed to change their workforce strategy and move toward a permanent staffing solution embedded in their infrastructure.The business model revolutionized the staffing industry by providing for hands-on management of a client’s flexible workforce. It also supported decision-making…
Sunday, 31 March 2013 22:45

How to expand your business into Asia

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Emerging markets in Asia present significant growth opportunities for businesses, but they also pose many challenges in terms of culture differences and government regulations.“One reason Hong Kong and Singapore have become popular as a first destination for companies expanding into Asia is because they have very good legal systems with good intellectual property protection,” says Mark Matuscak, President and CEO of Benefitdecisions, Inc. “Other key factors are a strong talent pool of local skilled labor, favorable tax rates and a central location that makes travel within the region easy. Companies may be targeting business in China but set up in…
Thursday, 31 January 2013 19:02

How digitalization provides easy access to content

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Microfilm does the job of preserving your company’s documents and publications for up to 500 years. But content digitalization offers an archival-quality storage method that allows convenient, searchable access to these materials.“Digitalization allows you to unlock the potential of the content,” says Natraj Kumar, general manager of Business Process Outsourcing (BP0) Services at HTC Global. “The Financial Times, for example, already has the content and most is available in physical form. They wanted the content posted on their website so people can access it and they can make revenue from it.”Smart Business spoke with Kumar about the process of transferring…
Tuesday, 04 September 2012 03:30

A model plant in Mexico

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When Mexico makes headlines these days, it’s usually for rare but shocking drug-related violence. Unfortunately, this dark spot has blocked an expanding bright spot that is helping many U.S.-based global manufacturers to stay competitive. A variety of companies have set up plants south of the border and are counting on Mexico’s proximity to the United States, cultural similarities and highly skilled and motivated workforce to fuel growth plans that support domestic job security.According to the manufacturing trade journal IndustryWeek, foreign direct investment in Mexico rose 9.7 percent in 2011 compared with 2010 to reach $19.44 billion. After a 5.5 percent…
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 17:05

Don’t let technology changes put you at risk

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As technology becomes an ever-increasing part of most businesses, so does the need to become more sophisticated on issues regarding intellectual property ? patents, trademarks and copyrights.“An electronic process now can be easily patented,” says Eric Macey, partner in Novack and Macey LLP. “Because technology is claiming more of business, you have to become more familiar with it, because you are consistently signing license agreements to do business, and you are consistently getting rights to use technology in a certain way from people who hold patents.”You have to make sure you know that what you’re doing is consistent with the…
Managing working capital can be vastly complex, but your bank’s treasury management professionals understand those complexities and can work to help you and your business implement effective solutions.Treasury management solutions may help manage corporate cash resources, reduce administrative burdens, speed collections, manage payments, facilitate cash flow, mitigate risks of fraud and make corporate capital work harder, says Jennifer Hall, treasury management specialist at Associated Bank.“Treasury management solutions run the gamut from picking the right deposit products, moving to electronic payments to investing idle balances,” says Hall. “And some of the most crucial tools are those that help protect businesses from…
Challenging times present an opportunity for organizations to perform detailed assessments of their operations.While recent stock market turmoil has many organizations worried about both short and long-term prospects, the risky environment can present opportunities for those that are ready to capitalize on change.Performing operational assessments can help organizations identify, mitigate and take advantage of the risks that they face.“These assessments focus on process design and execution risks,” says James P. Martin, CMA, CIA, CFE, managing director of Cendrowski Corporate Advisors. “When properly performed, operational assessments identify areas where process design and execution risks are not aligned with the organization’s risk…
More and more businesses are making the move from traditional colocation and hosting to cloud-based solutions. But what are the biggest reasons for this mass migration? Is it security? Scalability? Cost savings?Smart Business learned more from Christian Teeft, vice president of engineering at Latisys, about the key motivators swaying companies over to the cloud environment.What in particular is motivating this growing interest in cloud computing?The cloud is really a natural next step in a trend we’ve seen for years as customers evaluate the move from on-premise hosting to colocation to managed services and managed hosting — the desire to transition…
Over the past few years, as online privacy fears and identity theft have become an even greater reality, PCI compliance has grown into an essential priority for online businesses. And now, with the looming financial and PR fears of a data breach on every company’s radar screen, businesses are looking for data partnerships that can ensure them secure payment transactions through PCI compliance.Smart Business learned more from Dave Feinglass, director of Solutions Engineering at Latisys, about exactly what companies should look for when searching for a PCI compliant hosting provider.What does it mean for a data center to be PCI…
Friday, 25 June 2010 20:00

What to look for in an IT off-site solution

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Businesses across every industry face an ongoing need for more power, space and performance from their IT infrastructure. And yet the prospect of spending several months and significant capital investment building out a facility to meet this demand is one many firms find unfeasible.Smart Business spoke to Evans Mullan, chief operating officer at Latisys, to better understand what a company should look for when considering an IT off-site solution. There are several important considerations when it comes to selecting the right off-site colocation partner that can offer the complete set of capabilities.What are the primary benefits of an IT off-site…
Wednesday, 25 November 2009 19:00

Technology forecast

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Cost-cutting measures have defined the business environment in 2009, but business leaders have discovered that it is equally important to increase workflow and efficiency throughout an organization. By continuing these strategies into 2010, companies can place the focus on improving processes. “For most of 2010, you’re still going to see a lot of pressure on business expenses,” says Bill Dvorak, Chief Financial Officer and General Manager of CIMCO Communications. “A lot of the larger companies and banks are starting to show more profitability, but I don’t believe it’s because revenue is increasing, I think it’s because they are managing their…
Friday, 25 September 2009 20:00

Temps in the new economy

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There’s never been a better time to develop a relationship with a reliable staffing agency. As the economy begins to ramp back up, there will be starts and stalls along the way, and using a staffing agency will give you the flexibility to increase or decrease your work force depending on your needs. “As you start to see a slight pickup in business but not enough to commit to hiring full-time employees, one option is to turn to the staffing industry,” says Rob Wilson, president of Employco Group Inc., a division of The Wilson Companies. “You do pay an increased…
Wednesday, 25 June 2008 20:00

A good exit interview

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If you don’t take the opportunity to do an exit interview when an employee gives his or her two-week notice, you’re missing a golden opportunity from which you — and your company — could benefit. “Never underestimate what you can learn from departing employees,” says Rob Wilson, president of Employco Group. “You can use the exit interview to find out exactly why an employee is leaving and at the same time improve the structure of your organization.” Smart Business spoke with Wilson about the importance of exit interviews and how to take advantage of the information garnered from outgoing employees.…
Wednesday, 26 March 2008 20:00

Is an HRO right for you?

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As we enter the current recession, more and more firms are being faced with the unfortunate prospect of having to downsize. Not generally viewed as contributing directly to a company’s bottom line, the HR department is often one of the first areas to experience the hatchet. If this happens, who will perform the company’s vital HR functions? One option is to outsource these tasks. “Human Resources Outsourcing (HRO) enables small to midsize businesses to continue offering the same services to their employees,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco Group. “Additionally, outsourcing has the added benefit of futher reducing a company’s…
Tuesday, 23 November 2004 09:01

Positive outlook

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With the uncertainty of an election year behind us, business owners, investors and M&A professionals are cautiously optimistic that 2004's growth in transaction momentum will increase in 2005. In the first nine months of 2004, the number of middle market M&A transactions increased by 7.3 percent over the same period in 2003. The value of these transactions grew by 20.1 percent, as purchase price multiples rose to their highest levels since 2000. This growth in M&A transaction volume and value was driven by readily available debt and equity capital, and by better economic performance, topped by third quarter GDP growth…
Friday, 29 October 2004 05:22

Bedtime story

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Jim Nation started working in a Miami department store in high school, and in one sense, he never left. The Florida Atlantic University education major moved from the warehouse to the boardroom without ever finding the inside of a classroom as a teacher. Nation is president and CEO of Spring Air, the fourth largest bedding manufacturer in the world. And somewhere in Florida, a generation of students is deprived of his teaching talents. But as consolation, they may be sleeping well on one of his company's bedding products. For nearly 80 years, the company founded by Francis Karr has been…
Friday, 20 August 2004 09:30

Fine-tuning the Midas touch

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Alan Feldman, president and CEO of Midas Inc., may not share the ability of his company's fabled literary counterpart, King Midas, to turn whatever he touches to gold. But much of what Feldman has touched in his 18-month tenure at the automotive aftermarket giant has had a golden effect on the company's bottom line.Feldman joined the franchiser -- an enterprise in financial crisis -- in January 2003. Midas was over-leveraged. It owed money on a loan that was set to expire. And sales and profits had been in a steady decline for two straight years.As a result, Midas' stock price…
Saturday, 25 September 2010 20:00

How to maintain your VoIP telecommunications plan

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At first glance, a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, given its unified communications nature, may appear very complex. But Chris Surdenik, president of Call One, says you shouldn’t let that put you off from taking advantage of VoIP at your business. “Embrace that complexity, because it can make your business so much more effective and efficient,” says Surdenik. “That is why they are as complex as they are. They really will make your business better if utilized properly.” VoIP is not a traditional phone system; in fact, making and receiving calls, and generally behaving like a standard telephone system,…
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 20:00

Leasing vs. building

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Building a data center from the ground up involves more expense and time than most companies have to spare. Much like building a new office facility for a growing business, the end result might meet your needs, but at what cost? And what if your company continues to expand or contracts? Most companies require the help of an outside party — whether it’s leasing building space or making use of a third-party vendor’s data center — to most efficiently meet their business needs. Using an outside vendor’s data center requires less capital expense than it would for a company to…
Friday, 26 December 2008 19:00

2009 trends in technology

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Managing an IT organization in these uncertain economic times is not an easy task. However, technology continues to advance. In fact, it can provide sound solutions to IT departments facing budget constraints that still have a need for more efficiency and streamlined operations. “Not only do new communication technologies provide ways to consolidate IT infrastructure, but managed and hosted solutions offered by service providers allow IT departments to replace capital expenditures with monthly service fees,” says Bill Capraro, President and CEO of CIMCO Communications. Smart Business asked Capraro what technology trends to expect in 2009 and how to implement new…
Friday, 25 April 2008 20:00

Retention revolution

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Retaining top employees is always a challenge. But as the country sinks deeper into recession and corporate finances tighten, it’s imperative to find ways to hang on to key people without taxing the bottom line. “Incentive programs increase employee retention and help to improve work-place morale,” says Rob Wilson, president of Employco Group. “In this economic climate, it’s very important for businesses to develop creative cost-effective programs that make key employees want to stay.” Smart Business asked Wilson how CEOs can structure plans that keep employees engaged and still maximize the bottom line. Why is it critical to develop cost-efficient…
Wednesday, 26 March 2008 20:00

Keeping it in-house

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In today’s modern-day business environment, the technology solutions your company invests in are managed either internally or externally. Smart Business sat down with Bill Reichman, vice president of information systems for AIT Worldwide Logistics, to find out why he prefers the former over the latter. Do companies today place enough emphasis on technology? That depends on the company’s outlook on the importance and value of technology. If your company regards technology as something you absolutely have to have in order to be in business, then you are likely viewing your IT solutions as more of a customer expectation or business…
Sunday, 24 February 2008 19:00

Beat the downsizing blues

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It seems as if every day brings more bad news about the economy. As you watch the approaching clouds of recession, you may wonder if an economic downturn would mean having to downsize your work force. “Laying off employees is probably the worst task a CEO or business owner must face,” says Ryan Matusik, Business Consultant from the Employco Group, a human resource outsourcing company in Westmont, Ill. “It’s never easy to let employees go, but the pain can be lessened by following what I refer to as the four ‘Cs’ of downsizing: confidentiality, compliance, consistency and compassion.” Smart Business…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 19:00

VoIP technology gaining momentum

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Although no longer considered a new trend, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology is expected to gain even more widespread acceptance in 2008. VoIP involves sending voice information in digital form rather than using the analog protocol of traditional telephone networks. By converging voice and data systems into an IP telephony solution, businesses can streamline their operations, billings and maintenance. In addition to increased efficiencies, VoIP can also help ensure business continuity and provide numerous intangible benefits to businesses. “VoIP has invaluable business continuity applications that provide an organization with redundant service coverage. If you were to have any kind…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

Loyalty builder

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Anil Sunkara founded AdvanSoft International Inc. in 1998, leaving a lucrative job as a consultant with Arthur Andersen. Based on prior experience, he developed a business strategy that he knew clients would benefit from. He was only 26 years old at the time, and worked hard and took on huge personal and financial risks in the early stages of the business. Within just four months, he had 25 consultants and a top training center in Chicago. By 2000, he had 100 consultants and was still growing. Sunkara’s business development skills reached into other industries when the dot-com bust and economic…