Demand Response Will Lower your Facility Costs

May 30th, 2013

If you’re struggling with high facility costs for your business, it might be time to think outside of the box. One way to do this is by starting a demand response program. Demand response gives important incentives for lowering the amount of power and electricity your company uses, which in turn is successful at lowering your facility costs. Here are some different ways you save on costs by implementing a demand response program.

Lower Utility Bills

The first and primary benefit of demand response programs is that it will lower your monthly utility bills, including gas and electricity. Demand response means you’re using power and electricity less often, especially during peak times, so your bill is going to be lowered. With the fall in utility bills, your facility costs are also going to be lowered. The workload is going to be adjusted during your non-peak hours, which works even harder to lower your bills.

Earning Higher Income

Over time, the result of lower facility and utility costs, is higher income. This benefits you on many different levels. When the lower costs results in higher income, you are offering your business more opportunities for growth and advancement. There are minimal requirements to become involved in demand response, but the advantages are endless. There is also no penalties if some months you aren’t able to reduce the facility costs as much as you like. However on the months when it is a successful program, your costs are lower, and your income is higher.

Less Repairs and Replacements of Equipment

If you take part in a demand response program, you are notified right away if you have fluctuations in voltage. This means your equipment gets repaired much less often, because with the instant notification, you can shut down the equipment in order to prevent a brownout or blackout. Over time, you are not only saving money on your monthly bills, but the cost of repairing or replacing equipment is significantly reduced as well. If your facility faces multiple voltage fluctuations, it will benefit you to a higher degree than others where this is a rarity.

More Incentive for Consumers

One thing companies considering demand response don’t take into consideration, is the incentive to get new customers. By using a demand response system, you’re reducing the amount of electricity and energy used overall. This can actually be an incentive to consumers who care about the amount of energy companies used, because of them being more environmentally-conscious. You can use this to your advantage and further expand your business.

As you can see, there are many benefits to starting a demand response program at your facility. The basic facility and utility costs are decreased significantly, while you benefit from higher income and additional incentives for consumers who care about a company’s impact on the environment.

If you are looking to improve your staff with talent manufacturing employees, contact the staffing experts at Stark Talent today.

The Traits Employers are Looking for in IT Product Managers

May 24th, 2013

In today’s rapidly changing information technology world, being able to manage all areas of product development, training, and integration has become the job of skilled product managers. Product managers are essentially the subject matter experts for the application they work on, acting as a consultant and leader for multiple projects that are connected to this product.

While technical knowledge and experience are certainly important traits for product managers to have, there are a wide range of other skills that are needed to be successful. These are the highly sought after characteristics that the best product managers have.

Strong leadership ability

In order to be a successful product manager, you can position yourself well once you have harnessed your leadership ability. Product owners are leaders of ideas, concepts, and the products they represent.

Above average communication skills

Being able to communicate well with a diverse number of professionals and customers is key to success as a product manager. You may be working across multiple cultures and communication styles in your daily work, so often creative thinking is needed.

Effective writing and research ability

As a product owner, you will be responsible for compiling product guidelines, reports, manuals and presentations. Be ready to face the challenges of writing and researching on a continual basis.

Product knowledge and trend foresight

The product owner must be able to stay ahead of trends relating to the product, keep learning, and be able to share knowledge from an industry standpoint to the leadership team at a moment’s notice.

Highly organized time manager

Staying on top of all tasks and deadlines is critical to success as a product owner. Therefore, you should be able to be very organized and an effective manager of your time.

Corporate aligned and strategic thinker

Product ownership often means negotiating and getting support for critical product updates and expenditures. This means you need to be mindful of corporate goals and a strategy for helping the business experience the biggest ROI.

Exploring a career as a product manager in the information technology market can be an exciting prospect for any job seeker. By developing the above talents and traits, you can launch yourself as a SME in your chosen product line and get to the top of the hiring pile.

IT Networking – What You Need to Know as a Job Seeker

May 9th, 2013

Did you know that one of the most effective ways to be in the right place at the right time to get a job in information technology is by networking with your peers? The use of networking during a professional career search is not new. Industry groups and communities have been around in IT for a long time. However, since the explosion of the use of social networks in the last few years, networking in IT has taken on larger than life proportions.

To get the most out of IT networking as a job seeker, it’s important to understand that this is a unique community with many great opportunities to connect with the right people. Here are some things you need to know as you venture out into networking activities.

Focus on industry specific meet ups.

To make the most of your networking activities, take the time to go to live events that enable you to meet a wide variety of people in the IT industry. Join a few online IT communities and participate in discussions. By being in the presence of peers, you will be empowered and learn where the best jobs are.

Go to networking groups with an open mind.

Just like every other interaction you may have, keep an open mind when becoming part of networking group. While you may think you are only good at certain aspects of IT, you will likely find new ideas that can help you gain an edge in the job market.

Be prepared with business cards.

For a naturally introverted IT professional, that first greeting can be nerve wracking. Yet, you can make this more pleasant and sand out as a polished pro by presenting a nicely designed business card to everyone you meet. Take the time to include your name, your areas of specialty, and your contact info to make it easier for recruiters to get in touch with you.

Learn to make small talk more productive.

Instead of just talking about yourself at IT networking events, learn to be a reflective listener to make small talk more productive. While you are trying to impress others in the hopes of getting a job referral, showing personal interest in what others are doing can be a good way to win friends who may be future co-workers.

Use networking to build relationships, not just job leads.

IT networking is a fun and productive way to get out there and look for job opportunities, but this activity is more about building key relationships with your peers. When an IT firm starts a massive recruitment campaign, these relationships count. Learn to tactfully follow people you connect with using social networks and use networking consistently to foster these relationships.

 Learn more from Stark Talent 

Writing a Great IT Cover Letter that Seals the Deal 

The Changing Manufacturing Workforce – Industrial Staffing Trends to Watch

April 26th, 2013

Today’s workforce of manufacturers are far different than the workforce that operated the machines and belts 20 years ago. Technology, innovation, human resources, and other factors have all contributed to the environment in the manufacturing plant that is ever changing. There are hiring challenges in the manufacturing industry.

The United States is the biggest manufacturing economy in the world, employing 1/6 of the private sector jobs, around 17 million people. (Source: NAM.org)

However, when trying to attract employees to the workforce of manufacturers, there seems to be a large number of qualified candidates not applying because of their ‘idea’ of what the environment and atmosphere will be. It is these beliefs and myths about the manufacturing work that is putting up ‘barriers.’

So, what can the manufacturing industry do to break through these barriers to attract highly skilled workers?

  • Consolidate all the worker’s intellectual capital and give all employees login access.
  • Encourage shared insight from all employees about their jobs, including their suggestions on how to do things in a more streamlined manner.
  • The younger workforce expect to be able to use communication, open door methods, and idea sharing to excel in their careers, so having this in place is a great enticement to the qualified candidates in the younger generation.
  • BYOD, also known as Bring your own Device is a program that lets employees work from anywhere they want on their own equipment, while being connected to a secure network.
  • The BYOD program is very successful in increased employee productivity, while enhancing employee collaboration and plants. The BYOD program is a great incentive that can be used to attract and retain qualified, new employees.

Cisco published a report last year showing that 40% of survey respondents said they would take a job that paid less money, but offered more in their choice of device, mobility, and social media access than a job that paid more money with less flexibility. This is a huge piece of information that companies need to know in order to get the next generation employees on board. The innovative technology in the evolving manufacturer’s workforce in combination with the collaborative mindset is what the younger generation is looking for when they envision the future of the manufacturing plant.

How do we do this?

In order to give employees the ability to be mobile and work with devices, you need to implement technology and resources on the plant floor.

  • Tablets
  • Phones
  • Netbooks
  • Social Media
  • Instant access to non-networked employees (site managers, plant floor workers, project managers)

It is important that the front line workers in R&D, maintenance teams, sales, and all other teams are able to connect in a moment to get answers and resolve situations that can come up. Having access to all of these people and intertwining the way they can communicate will immediately elevate the production level of the manufacturing workforce, while inviting in a brand new generation of workers that are already tech savvy, and part of the newest technological trends.

Product development, sales, service, manufacturing, and even human resources should all be connected in order to extend knowledge where it needs to go, encourage collaboration globally in your plant, and deepen business ties and relationships within your own workforce. Stark Talent can help you to reach these goals, with on demand staffing support.

Challenges for Identity and Access Management in IT

April 19th, 2013

With the wave of new information technology crashing over the IT market on an almost daily basis, there is an ever growing concern over corporate identity and access management. Most companies either have internal data management systems or they’ve switched all or a portion of their information management over to cloud based servers and devices. Yet, almost weekly, there are reports of computer hackers gaining access to corporate data and in some cases, taking entire networks down in seconds. When this happens, it costs companies thousands in lost productivity and revenues.

Identity and Access Management for Businesses

There are several challenges for identity and access management that a business will want to consider, as we move into an ever increasing web-based world. One is giving the key administrators access to large databases of information without losing integrity of data. Second is protecting the sheer volume of information created on not only internal business systems, but also by the growing number of employees who access work via mobile devices, social networks and portable platforms.

Methods to Protect Corporate Data

Fortunately, there are some ways that an IT department can use to protect corporate information and identity management.

  • Privileged Account Management – Throughout the course of employment, the IT department can control the actual access rights and activity of users on an individual basis. This helps to lock away certain information that some users are not privileged to see. By using this method, security and compliance is enhanced through access control.
  • User Identity Administration – Automating IT administration and understanding who is using corporate information systems can support a securely managed lifecycle. By identifying individual access and usage data, information is managed in real time and can be archived for future investigations or breeches. UIA can also provide reports of events to aid in prosecution of offenders.
  • Access and Activity Governance – If the corporate IT department needs to, it can limit access by one, some, or all users to stop the spread of computer viruses and retain secure access to protect information from outside sources. Additionally, this governance can be controlled internally by upper management to authorize employee’s use of business-critical files when needed.

While there will never be an end to information theft, companies can take an active approach to prevent and stop the access and destruction of corporate data by using one or all of the above methods. Hiring quality IT staff is also a good approach to maintaining the integrity and safety of your data.

If you are looking for manufacturing and IT industry news, visit the Stark Talent blog each week for more resources. Contact Stark Talent today to land your next top candidate!

Is Your Manufacturing Company Ready for a Mobile World?

April 11th, 2013

In a global business climate, even manufacturing businesses need to make the move to the realm of the mobile web. Many business owners have missed the boat, to some degree when it comes to creating mobile websites or at least making their own business websites “mobile friendly.” You really can’t afford to do that with your business. It’s time to get on board with mobile manufacturing technology and the benefits it provides.

Why You Must Go Mobile

Business today is moving to the smaller screens of mobile devices and tablet PCs. People are taking their business on the road. They’re doing research at kid’s little league games and waiting in the various lines they’re all called upon to wait in from time to time. If your website isn’t ready for them when and how they want to access it, then you’re missing out on business most manufacturing companies can’t afford to lose. These are just a few things you can do to make your business a little friendlier to various mobile devices.

Optimize Critical Website Pages for Mobile Devices

There are a few steps that go into this particular process. However, making the time now to create a site where all the vital pages with information about your business and how to contact you, will get you business your competitors are missing out on if they haven’t taken this necessary step quite yet. More importantly, the sooner you get the job done, the faster your site will begin to trend in mobile circles.

How do you go about optimizing your site (or at least a few pages on your site) for mobile devices? Follow these quick steps for starters.

1)   Eliminate unnecessary text. It’s difficult to read large chunks of content on mobile devices. Keep the information relevant, necessary, and brief on pages you optimize for mobile devices.

2)   Lower load times. There are plenty of people who use mobile devices that are still operating from 3G networks. They don’t all move at the speed of lightning. If your site takes too long to load, people will move on. Eliminate pictures, music, and other items that add to longer load times when optimizing for mobile devices.

3)   Keep it simple. A complex design will make it difficult for people to navigate from one page of your site to others. Make your mobile pages as user friendly as possible—bearing in mind that tiny boxes and closely spaced links will prove tricky to navigate on mobile devices.

Create Mobile-Ready Email Marketing Messages

One of the most common things for people to do is check emails on their mobile devices. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial for you to make changes to your email marketing messages that are mobile-friendly. If people can’t easily navigate from email to offer, email to phone call, or both, then you run the risk of missing out on the big sale you’re hoping to land from your email marketing efforts.

You’ve made it to the manufacturing mobile age, whether you’re ready for it or not. However, if you embrace the future of marketing online ahead of your manufacturing competitors, you’ll have a serious advantage (of time and experience in the field of email marketing) over them when they finally take the plunge. Remember to also hire manufacturing employees who are familiar with mobile manufacturing technology, from Stark Talent.

Writing a Great IT Cover Letter that Seals the Deal

April 5th, 2013

Drafting a resume for an information technology job can be one thing, however without a great IT cover letter your resume may not even get considered. To write a cover letter for an IT assignment, there are some basic principles that can help you stand out as a top candidate. Remember that the average recruiter will spend approximately 20 seconds looking at your cover letter; after that it’s over. Make your cover letter count with these tips.

Start with a friendly, yet professional greeting

Give the recruiter something positive to read right off the bat with a warm and respectful greeting. If at all possible include the person’s first name (call ahead of time to ask who this is). Thank this person for his or her time and consideration.

Indicate what position you are interested in

As soon as your greeting is created, immediately indicate what assignment you are submitting your resume for. Recruiters are often responsible for placing multiple candidates into a variety of IT assignments, so you can ensure getting into to “maybe” pile simply by adding this one little detail.

Highlight your strengths as they relate to the assignment

Now this is where your cover letter really counts. Write a sentence that indicates your excitement about the possibility of working with the company, followed by a bulleted list of at least 3 reasons why you have the right skills and experience to do the job. Keep this concise and avoid sounding overly boastful. Focus on the keywords used in the actual job description advertisement.

Give a reason for the recruiter to call you

Now, you must end your IT cover letter with a call to action statement. Instead of just saying “looking forward to hearing from you” try something like “I am available on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 4 pm EST to discuss the needs of your business. Please give me a call at your convenience.” This gives the recruiter an actionable item to follow up with you right away.

Try not to sound desperate in your closing

Some job seekers make the mistake of ending their cover letter with something like “Gratefully Yours” or “Respectfully”; however these can sound too much like you are trying to appeal to the recruiter in a desperate act. Instead, stick with a professional closing such as “Sincerely” or “Best Regards” for a more positive ending to your cover letter.

Include your contact information

The most important aspect of a great IT cover letter is including your contact information. Do not assume that the recruiter will have your cover letter and resume together. Files can often get displaced or corrupted by an email. Include your full name, a good phone number and email address at the bottom of your cover letter.

Remember, your IT cover letter is your very first impression you will make to a recruiter. Keep it short, to the point, and professional. Write an original one for every job you apply for. You’ll soon be on the way to a great new career in IT at Stark Talent.

How Social Media Helps Information Technology Firms

March 22nd, 2013

Social media is a craze that isn’t going away anytime now or in the future. It’s transformed the way average people connect and the way organizations conduct everyday business.

In many ways, business social networking has become a valuable operations tool that thousands of executives and human resource professionals turn to daily for fast access to information and people. In the technology sector, this is prevalent.

How is social media used to support tech companies?

There are many ways that social media and the networking opportunities that it brings support the technical industry at the corporate level. Let’s look at a few ways.

  1. Industry news and updates – One big way that social media helps technology businesses is that it helps to shed light on new advancements and ideas in an otherwise rapidly evolving industry. News and updates are shared by social networks and this allows companies to stay ahead of the competition.
  2. Online groups and events – With much of the technology industry conducting business on a global scale, social media allows businesses to set up virtual events and forums where participants can connect and share.
  3. Recruiting in technology – In terms of tech recruitment, social media has become the go-to source for candidates. Why? Recruiters can quickly search for candidates by job specialty and industry, which is convenient for recruitment sourcing.
  4. Corporate branding – Creating an image for the company is very important in today’s technology driven environment. Businesses can use social media as a platform for displaying and promoting their brand.
  5. Improved collaboration– Using social media has become commonplace in tech work environments. By providing internal social networking groups, employees can collaborate and post updates on important projects.

Strategic business use of social networking on the increase

While these are just a handful of the ways that technology firms can use social media to improve internal processes, connect with industry thought leaders, and attract great talent—there are some interesting statistics in this area for further research. In the 2012 Small Business Social Study conducted by SMB Group, it was revealed that:

  • One-quarter of all US small businesses and one-third of midsize companies use social media to engage with customers and prospects in a strategic and structured way.
  • At the time of the survey, 20 percent of US businesses had integrated social media into their standard business processes.
  • 86 percent of companies worldwide have a presence on at least one social network, including a growing interest in the use of Pinterest and Google+.

It’s growing more important than ever that companies focus on a strategy for not only connecting with their prospective clients, but also utilize social networks for attracting the best technology candidates possible. By engaging with job seekers, social media can be harnessed to bring in higher quality candidates. In this day and age where quality counts, hiring the best IT employees can make all the difference in the success of your tech firm. That’s why Stark Talent should be your first stop for quality technical and IT contract workers.

Understanding Mobility in Manufacturing | Industrial Career Trends

March 15th, 2013

In manufacturing, mobility focuses on visibility, efficiency, and actionable transactions. Mobile ERP solutions are one component of that. In industrial and manufacturing services, there is no doubt that mobile ERP solutions are a good fit.

In the Deloitte Global Manufacturing Index report for 2013, the main barrier indicated by professionals is that implementing mobile ERP solutions is viewed as a security risk. What’s worrisome is that even though these solutions are deemed highly desirable, many businesses will not invest in mobile device management (also known as MDM). They would rather simply lose out on the benefits they could have than to invest in the solutions needed to overcome the security barrier perceived. They could simply invest in MDM to reduce the risks they worry about and benefit.

One of the reasons so many companies have refrained from doing this is simple. They just do not realize the true benefits that it can offer. What can MDM offer?

  • It can be an effective way to increase competitive advantage.
  • It helps to reduce costs.
  • It helps to increase employee efficiency.
  • It aids in improving overall lean business processes.

When you look at the vast number of key opportunities present, you can clearly see the reasons to invest in it. For example, key opportunities include mobile access to business enabling apps. These customer relationships management apps, CRM applications, are an ideal tool for many businesses. Additionally, consider how this type of implementation in its simplest of forms can make employee collaboration across the world easy to do.

Some do not realize the risk. For example, the global marketplace is shrinking. As that happens, many countries are investing in sophistication. As a result, many US manufacturers will be left behind if they do not invest in and realize the benefits of mobility as a type of tool to enhance global competitiveness in the field.

In countries like India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, and China. businesses are reporting that the single largest investment they are making is in technology and efficiency. Having these priorities could define business success. Many US businesses simply need to find a way to make the move and to realize if they do not invest as the competition is doing, they will be left out in the short term. This is not something to worry about on a rainy day.

Mobility in the manufacturing industry does not have to be a massive undertaking, which it can be for these emerging markets. In fact, the biggest risk facing some manufacturers is the lack of investing in mobility to start. The key here is to ensure that companies are taking action now, not at some point in the future, by realizing the true benefits that this type of mobility can offer to the organization. If you are looking to advance your career or business in manufacturing, contact the staffing experts at Stark Talent.

Digital Manufacturing is Here | Industrial Technology Trends

March 8th, 2013

Whether you are ready for it or not, digital technology has invaded the manufacturing industry and it’s here to stay. From tablet computers and online lead generation to web based manufacturing training and cloud based inventory control systems – technology is benefitting the manufacturing industry to help it thrive in the years to come.

The top manufacturing companies embrace technology that allows for more streamlined systems that improve quality all the while reducing costs. Let’s look at a few factors influencing the trend towards digital technology in the manufacturing scene.

Move Towards Automation

Manufacturing has come a long way since the inception of mechanization in the 18th century and the introduction of assembly lines in the 20th century. The term “Digital Revolution” comes from an article in The Economist, a popular business magazine that indicated the manufacturing industry is going through a third dramatic change as more technology tools automate and accelerate processes. It’s common practice to use computer software to control and measure the effectiveness of manufacturing models, therefore it’s not surprising that this trend will continue.

More Cloud Based

Due to major cuts in the budgets of many manufacturing firms, coupled with the rise in offshore manufacturing resources, the use of cloud-based manufacturing technology is leading the way. Using web accessible systems to monitor and control every facet of manufacturing gives leaders the ability to see progress in real time, from anywhere around the world. The advancement of mobile technology adds to this growing trend, even giving manufacturing managers convenient apps for on-the-go tracking of shipments and inventory control.

Push for Integration

Another trend in the area of digital manufacturing is that of the integrated system. Resources can be better managed when products “talk” seamlessly with each other. Therefore, the creation of integrated digital technology for manufacturing is on the rise. In line with best practices in the IT market, digital technology must not only be secure to avoid outside threats, it must be presented as a Service as a Software (SaaS). There are several software development firms specializing in packaged manufacturing technology that meets all of this criteria, as well as the different levels of use in the industrial market.