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.

Cloud Computing Could Potentially Generate Millions of Jobs

February 25th, 2013

The year ahead promises to bring great career opportunities for those in the Information Technology and Data Management markets. Experts predict that candidates who have experience working with and developing new cloud technology will be at the forefront of this career growth in 2013.

What do reports say about career growth in cloud computing?

A recent study conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) and Microsoft indicates that by the year 2015, there will be some 14.1 million new jobs created by cloud computing alone, spurred by the billions in dollars that large firms are investing in this technology. Further the IDC/Microsoft study advised that, “Most of that job growth will hail from emerging markets — China and India in particular. It is estimated that these countries will generate 6.75 million cloud-related jobs versus an estimated 2.8 million jobs in the Asia Pacific region, 2.07 in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and 1.17 million in North America.”

The US makes up a large part of the demand for cloud technology, with over half of all cloud apps being developed for US businesses of all sizes and industries. It’s clear that cloud technology and everything it stands for are here to stay for many years to come – leading to some excellent career opportunities for IT and support pros alike.

The US Department of Labor backs up this claim in its Occupational Employment Projections to 2020 that was published in the January 2012 Monthly Labor Review. In the next decade, there is expected to be above average growth in the IT and cloud computing career paths, with more than half of all job creation attributed to business and information services. There is projected to be approximately 55,800 more jobs established with an 18 percent growth rate until 2020 in information systems.

How can employers prepare for the demand for cloud computing professionals?

One of the keys to success in the word of cloud computing is having employees who are knowledgeable about cloud technology and use it effectively in their normal duties. Hiring capable staff who have a high level of comfort and understand the nature of global business can give your organization an edge in your industry. Cloud computing is transforming many of the administrative and sales functions at companies around the world. Obviously tapping into great IT and technology talent, by working with Stark Talent, should be a critical part of your recruitment strategy.

Advice for Your Cloud Computing Strategy | Workplace Technology

February 19th, 2013

Is your business in “The Cloud”? Chances are, if you are tapped into web-based products you are already using cloud technology to perform at least some of your administrative functions. Cloud computing has become the leading way that businesses manage their processes, using software that’s accessible 24/7 via the Internet. Most often, this access is made possible via a customized option with a secure sign on process from a central portal.

There are many advantages to using a cloud computing strategy to handle business. Yet, you will want to have a clear strategy in place to make the most of this technology. Here are some of the benefits, with advice for your cloud computing processes.

Cost Savings of Cloud Computing

One of the top reasons that companies choose to go with cloud computing options is that it offers cost savings over other SaaS (Software as a Service) models. Instead of the expense of developing customized products to perform specific functions, a cloud application can be licensed and adapted to integrate with current systems. This means less down time and more productivity.

Accessibility and Data Security

The business world has become a global marketplace, with transactions and communications spanning entire nations and beyond. That means your business needs a resource for accessing information and protecting this valuable resource around the clock. A cloud based system offers this on-to-go access and portability of information behind a locked portal, look for these features before selecting yours.

Branded Cloud Apps

Cloud applications often allow for private label branding of tools, from employee access systems to client facing resources. You’ll want to make sure you do this early on in your experience, so that your company continues to build its corporate culture in all manners.

Talent Management Streamlined

From outsourced recruitment convenience to vendor on premise arrangements, you can use a cloud based system for managing your biggest asset – your people. Many cloud computing applications allow for seamless integration with existing talent management systems, so be sure to check with your vendors first when choosing to go this route. Ask your recruitment agency to make their recommendations.

Recruit for Cloud Comfort

Your staff needs time to get accustomed to using cloud based technology in order for it to be successful. Make hiring staff who have experience in cloud computing a priority, to speed up this process and increase productivity. Stark Talent can provide experienced IT, technical, and administrative employees on a contract basis to help your company get the most out of cloud technology.

Online Methods to Improve Lead Generation in Manufacturing

February 15th, 2013

When it comes to lead generation in the manufacturing industry, reports indicate that more and more opportunities are occurring online. Just as consumers head online to research, evaluate and eventually buy online, so are businesses. As a manufacturer, it is very important to put in place methods that encourage and even capitalize on this opportunity to improve your lead generation numbers.

How to Increase Leads in the Industrial Market

To capitalize on this market, you’ll need to think twice about your current methods. Most manufacturers are focusing on building up an online presence right now (you know you need a website and to be present online.) Yet, there are a few other things you can do to make more of an impact.

#1 – Does Your Site Mirror Industrial Business Processes?

A manufacturing company’s website is not the traditional ecommerce website. Rather, the buying process is vastly different and more complex. Rather, you want your website to convey specific knowledge that will help businesses to make decisions. This includes:

  • Providing a way for those visitors to the site to begin the discovery process by learning about your business.
  • Provide an avenue for businesses to learn about product specs, materials procedures and policies.
  • Ensure there is a way for visitors to the site to see pricing and schematics that shows how the product you are offering is going to work.
  • Show your team in action with a great team page, recruiting the best candidates, and imagery of your achievements.

Doing this is a good first step towards achieving better lead generation, but that’s not all.

#2 – Show the Customer What You Have to Offer

The next step is to show the visitor to the site what your business has to offer. They need to be able to see this immediately or they will simply look elsewhere.

#3 – You Need to Allow Products to Be Easily Compared

One of the key differences about the manufacturing website is that it needs to provide customers with the opportunity to easily compare products. Give them a way to do this, such as by setting up a simple diagram that compares the products you have side by side.

#4 – Provide Information

It’s important to provide enough information on your site that is going to encourage them to stay and learn more. This means providing enough information about your product to encourage the visitor to take action.

When you take these steps, you are providing the visitor to your site, who is likely a customer looking for more information and better results than what they are getting, with information they need. It is more likely that they will pick up the phone or send off an email to connect with you if your website is giving them the information that they want and that they need. Otherwise, they will look elsewhere.

Improve your chances of attracting more clients by hiring the best staff in manufacturing. Whether you are looking for temporary workers or permanent employees. Stark Talent has the resources you need to make better hires. We have pre-screened candidates ready to work hard for your manufacturing facility.

Manufacturing and Social Technology – Effective Use for Industrial Recruiting

February 8th, 2013

Social technology is most often thought of as a business to customer (B2C) aspect of marketing. There’s no doubt that social networking, social interactions and social – everything, is focused on bringing in new customers. That’s a good thing and it works very well. Any business not engaging in social aspects is missing out. Yet, there’s another component to keep in mind here. That is business to business.

How can social technology work in the manufacturing industry or other industries in which the model is business to business?

It’s Not as Easy as You Think

One of the reasons you may be scratching your head and wondering how this could work is because it is a challenge. There’s plenty stacked up against you.

  • The length of the sale cycle is often much longer in the business-to-business model. That makes it harder to get those results in an instant fashion, which is something that social technology encourages.
  • The complexity of the process can be a challenge as well.
  • It’s usually all about the dollar investment, too.

That’s because you are thinking about it in the same light you would the business to customer relationship. You are thinking of it as a way to engage and nurture your relationships with customers and even to close the sale. Yet, when you turn things around, it can work very well from the business-to-business standpoint.

How to Use Social in B2B

This business-to-business model of using social technology is working and some manufacturing companies are finding it to be a very successful way of building sales and business. How does it work?

  • Use it to incorporate collaboration.
  • Use it to make email automation possible.
  • Use it to manage content as well as documents with ease.
  • Use it for business monitoring and listening.
  • Use it to build a knowledge base.

For example, you may want to combine social CRM to project management as well as billing. If you have a smaller business, you can run your operation on this application. It’s important to find and employ the various technologies available that empower business owners like this.

Social technology works to increase the amount of collaboration that takes place between partners and suppliers. You can replace the word “social” with “collaboration” in any supply chain and management instance. It helps to streamline various processes, improving workflow, and makes data flow possible.

Another way in which it is working is by creating new customer portals. These are being used for all aspects, including design, specifications, and delivery. This works in various industries. It helps to streamline the process overall.

The bottom line is, when you turn social technology into a business-to-business viewpoint, you can see exactly how helpful it is. This is also true when it comes to social recruiting that the Stark Talent team are experts in using to find high quality candidates in Texas and Alberta, Canada. It’s not something to overlook the value of  in the manufacturing indu

Tips for Improved Operators with IT Technology

January 30th, 2013

Improving your IT operator’s effectiveness on the job may be easier than you realize. With technology readily available, you may find it easy to get more with less time and effort. There’s no doubt that the industrial floor is changing. Businesses are employing new technologies at a very rapid pace, as they work to increase productivity while also working to maintain strict regulations. Efficiency and visibility in real time is a must, but it is not always that easy to put into place.

Technology Is Everywhere. Operators are using technology in various aspects. It is being used as a collaboration tool. It is being used for analytics, mobility, and visualization.

Consider the Possibilities

How is technology available to help the new generation? Consider the range of possibilities.

  • Mobile clients and location awareness are present. Operators are no longer stuck working in the control room. They can take their interface (whether in the form of a smartphone or a tablet computer) with them.
  • Alarm management, the thorn in the side of any operator, can be effectively managed through technology as well. In fact, in today’s traditional environment, about 75 percent of all alarms are considered noise. Intelligent alarm notifications ensure that the alarm is known about, and that information is delivered about it, but without the noise factor in play.
  • Managing security in the new age is possible too. Infrastructure and manufacturing locations are potential targets for all sorts of threats, including hackers. With the use of technology, operators can create a safer location for everyone at the location as well as for intelligence. Securing data and transfers is a main component of managing the business today.
  • Improving real time operations is a key component to the IT operator’s job. With tools like Real Time Operational Intelligence, it is possible to improve response. It works to bridge the gaps in the various systems in play on the floor. This includes things like analytics, security, and mobility. Integrating these can help to create powerful information in real time.

Is intelligence important to today’s operator? It most definitely is. Not only is the industrial floor now churning out products with fewer people, but added restrictions and limitations mean more for those people to think about and handle during the workday. When technology is added to the game, though, things change. It becomes more possible than ever to effectively manage the floor.

Finding the right technologies to fit your business is a critical step in maintaining your business operations. By providing operators with tools like smartphones and tablets, they can literally take business with them and handle it all on the go. So, too it’s important to make sure your company hires the best operators who are comfortable using this technology. This improves productivity, reduces risk factors, and makes the operator’s job easier to do overall.

Enjoy our previous posts on the topic of technology in the workplace.

To Cloud or Not to Cloud – The Pros and Cons for Business

Advice for Managing Your Corporate Data

 

Manufacturing Makeover | Developing Your Employer Brand

January 25th, 2013

When it comes to manufacturing, it’s impossible not to think that the US brand has changed. It used to be that everyone bought and was proud of items that were “made in America” but things have changed significantly. What once was a symbol of quality and expertise lost its footing when other countries, promising lower operating costs, stepped into the picture. For those companies that want to drive business back, it’s essential to consider remaking a brand.

What Others Are Doing

Some companies realized long ago that business was turning to China and other outsourced countries because they could get the product for less. They worked hard, but some companies have managed to change their brand from “made in America” to “cheaper than China.” That’s getting attention. In fact, by changing their marketing message, many of these companies are seeing significant growth and are hiring to manage that growth.

The Perception of Manufacturing Jobs

Even though the US currently hovers around an 8 percent unemployment rate (as of December 2012), the manufacturing industry has jobs that are going unfilled. Why is this? It’s become people no longer want to get the training necessary to fill those positions or, if they have it, they do not want to take those positions. It’s due to bad perception about manufacturing jobs as a whole.

To change this, some programs are putting put in place to focus on STEM (the implementation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) into the curriculum. What people must understand, starting with school-aged future employees, is that manufacturing isn’t a dead industry. It’s just not more high tech than it used to be.

Education is definitely the place to start when it comes to changing the branding of manufacturing as a whole. However, there’s more to the process. What does your employer brand offer?

  • What does your company offer that can compete in some way with the competition?
  • How has your marketing message changed to reflect this to lure in new customers?
  • What steps has your organization taken to beef up the roll call?

Many companies are taking real action to improve the image of marketing both on the large scale and within their local industries. It’s making a difference, too. By making US manufacturing a good thing in the eyes of the talent in the US, it’s far easier to fill positions. It’s also the same way to get more business. Stark Talent offers staffing solutions for manufacturing businesses, while they grow and need to add more employees. Take the time to learn more about our manufacturing staffing services in Texas and Alberta, Canada.

Improve Manufacturing Operations | Manage Change

January 18th, 2013

In manufacturing, change is a part of the job. No matter the industry or position, things change. As an employee, it can be hard to swallow change, especially when it means learning something new or setting a new goal. Before you can lead your employees through such changes, you need to be ready to face them yourself.

To Improve You Must Change

There is always going to be change. In order to see any improvement, you need to see changes occurring. Companies cannot improve especially in today’s economy without making changes that affect the bottom line, the product, or the results. The key factor to remember is that it’s not about processes, but about focusing on people instead. What can you do?

One step in the right direction is to talk to the people that are actually involved in the processes that you plan to change. Gather applicable information from these employees (not from surveys or other plans.) The employee, in most cases, often knows exactly what you can do to improve the operational process to get the results you want. This is the information you need to have if you want to make changes to improve efficiency overall.

Why Don’t They Do It?

Why don’t managers talk to employees more often to gather this information? Many believe that employees will criticize the system, often the one that the current manager has put into place. That means the manager ends up with the blame on his shoulders. Some employees are unwilling to share the truth for fear of stepping on toes.

The key to overcoming this is the job of the manager. He or she needs to push aside the defensive attitude and realize that some processes may no longer be adequate or even effective in the current situation. How can you fix this problem? Don’t look at it has something you did wrong.

Seek It Out

It’s a good idea for managers to not only be willing to hear criticisms, but also to take steps to seek it out. That’s not always something people will do easily. Yet, by becoming an effective communicator and learning from employees (the ones on the job floor doing the work) it is possible to see continuous change improvement this way.

By creating the type of culture that encourages this type of behavior, for the employees not only to do their job but also to be critical thinkers, far more can be accomplished. It’s a great way to see change that starts with the people in the business. Hiring a temporary workforce who understands the aspect the change in manufacturing can be one way to handle this challenge. Stark Talent gives you tools to manage change in your staffing needs, with customized staffing support and quality employees on-demand.