Advice for Managing Your Corporate Data

October 29th, 2012

Outside of the property that encompasses a business, it’s most valuable asset is data. According to Symantec, the average business has between 500 to well over 100,000 terabytes of information on file. Therefore, it only makes good business sense that your company would want to protect and manage this data using the most secure and cost effective method. Unfortunately, many businesses realize this far too late after a data breach has occurred or they have too much data to reasonably organize and manage.

That’s why it’s critical to identify ways in which to manage your corporate data now, before it is lost forever. Read on to learn 5 steps to better manage data for your business.

Step 1 – Identify Critical Data

There’s a lot of data stored on multiple devices around your business space. But how can you know what you need to store and what you need to dump? Take the time to meet with your key decision makers and determine what data is absolutely critical to your organization and what can be stored elsewhere. Then make a list of what needs to be imported first.

Step 2 – Organize Your Data

When you have a large influx of data coming in from all directions and via multiple people, there’s a good chance that it is disorganized. This means you need to find a system that will integrate all the sources of data you have, and one that allows you to upload many different types of files in one simple to access platform.

Step 3 – Chose a Secure Storage Method

Your data is worth more than you realize. Experts believe that actual data is approximately worth 60 percent of the average business’ assets. Choose a secure method that is industry approved for storing and sharing data. Encrypt your data and use a professional firewall and anti-virus protected server.

Step 4 – Have a Backup Storage System

Not only do you need an onsite data storage method, but you also need a backup storage system in case something happens to your hardware. Natural disasters, theft, and more can wreak havoc on your business if you don’t have it backed up somewhere safe. Choose a web-based cloud server or an offsite physical storage device.

Step 5 – Back Up Data Regularly

You know how to manage your current data, but what about future data? Make sure you have an automatic data backup method so you never forget to back up new data on your secure systems. Doing this now can alleviate potential data losses.

Managing IT data can be somewhat time consuming when you have a large amount to handle, but it’s worth it to protect your most valuable asset – information. Review our previous related post:

Security on the Plant Floor- Go Wireless

Contact Stark Talent to find you your ideal IT manager to protect your data!

Update on Procurement Trends

October 22nd, 2012

Procurement outsourcing is changing the way many businesses do business. By definition, it is the transfer of procurement activities to a third party. The goal of this method is to reduce costs and perhaps improve the company’s focus on the core values it has. Is this a good thing? Is it something that you should be doing within your organization?

What About Your Supplier Relationship?

In a survey called GEP Value Trends: Procurement Outsourcing, the organization states that a majority of procurement teams would rather hold onto their supplier relationships. This number is as high as 70 percent. On the other hand, about half are looking to outsource the procure-to-pay operations they have. The report outlines what the goals and guidelines are of mid-sized to large companies in North America and Europe. Across the board, it seems, procurement outsourcing is becoming more accepted as a solution to common concerns.

How do we know there’s an increase in interest in such methods? In short, there are more companies using outsourced procurement services now than there were just a few years ago. This indicates a growth in the industry and that it is moving forward as becoming a valuable component.

What’s behind the demand? Why are more companies taking a closer look at procurement outsourcing?

  • For some, the need is to improve sourcing. They simply need better sources.
  • Many companies are looking to adopt best practice processes and this is one way for them to do just that.
  • Some are interested because of the expanding subject matter expertise that is becoming available in the field.
  • For others, improving capacity is also bringing more interest to companies.
  • Finally, the improved capabilities of these organizations is making it a better decision.

What About the Costs?

In every industry, costs matter and this one is no different. The key factor here is to show value in the investment in such outsourcing tools. They difference here is that companies can simply buy the services they need rather than invest in the development of them. That saves money over the long term anyway.

When it comes to procurement outsourcing, the bottom line is a big factor. However, improved sources, better competence levels and improved overall function are making it easier for businesses to consider the benefits of outsourcing. This could mean a big change for your organization, too. Don’t overlook the value in using such services to achieve your own, in-house goals. Many companies are embracing this opportunity.

In Texas, Stark Talent is leading the way for companies who are looking to augment their current staffing management with strategic outsource procurement. To learn more about hiring a contingent workforce, get in touch with Stark Talent today.

Manufacturers Project a Strong Second Half of 2012

October 15th, 2012

What does the second half of 2012 look like for the manufacturing sector? According to the April 2012 Group Outlook Survey, conducted by Prime Advantage, there are some good things ahead. In fact, this organization, which is a leading buying consortium for mid-sized manufactures, believes the rest of the year will yield positive improvements for many companies.

What Did The 2012 Survey Find?

The survey found that most manufacturers who participated anticipate a positive second half of 2012 with ample hiring, healthy revenue numbers and good capital spending plans. For some companies, though, there could be some holdups due to the federal election in the U.S. Take a look at what is happening.

Revenue and Capital Spending

In the areas of revenue and capital spending, most mid-sized manufacturers responded that they expected significant improvements. About 48 percent say they expect increases compared to 40 percent in 2011. The reason for this, they state, is due to improved customer demand for products. In 58 percent of the cases, customers were the primary factor and in 32 percent, new product lines also contributed.

Employment Increases

In terms of hiring, 90 percent of those companies that participated in the study said that they plan to increase the number of U.S. workers they are bringing on board. Of those companies, 39 percent plan to fill open positions this year. Last year, only 35 percent planned to do so. That is good news for the manufacturing industry as a whole, but very good for those looking for positions in these factories this year.

Other Factors

There are other contributing factors to the operations of mid-sized manufacturers right now.

  • The costs related to raw material purchases are less this year than they have been. This is also contributing to the growth of many companies.
  • The cost of healthcare, on the other hand, is one of the biggest concerns for many employers in the field. This is not the second highest cost pressure for manufacturers.
  • Federal elections could play a role in the businesses, too. Of those surveyed, 29 percent are seeing some delays in employment as a result of the uncertainty in this field.

For many manufacturing companies, these are big concerns that are weighing heavily on their hiring decisions. Mid-sized manufacturers, an important segment in the industry, are particularly vulnerable to the changes in attitudes by consumers as well as cost changes in healthcare and raw materials. However, 2012 seems to be ending on a high note for many in the manufacturing and related industries.

To manage the upcoming growth trends in manufacturing, you must have a plan in place to maintain your staffing numbers. This requires access to quality, manufacturing employees. Be sure to contact Stark Talent in Austin for manufacturing staffing support on a temporary contract or perm placement status.

CPG Trend News for 2012

October 8th, 2012

For those in the CPG market, things are still quite uncertain. Many of the financial experts say that the nation is in gradual climb in productivity and growth, but it is difficult to see when there are still tales of business failure and layoffs. Yet, with the decrease in the number of unemployed claims announced this week, there is hope that the CPG market will begin to feel some positive effects.

A recent article from the Global Marketing Association for Marketing at Retail stated that “…CPG marketers have been wrestling with rising commodity prices, and increased input costs all along the supply  and delivery chain.  The net result of these forces has been intense margin strain and ongoing growth issues.” Not having access to a ready supply of materials and resources in CPG can seriously hamper any growth initiatives, including being able to staff proactively in the coming season.

Additionally, a SymphonyIRI’s study indicates the following CPG trends:

  • Consumers in 2012 are basing their buying decisions on purchase price, so retailers better offer the best quality at the lowest pricing structure.
  • Private label and dollar unit sales will remain at a steady 18-22 percent of all retail sales in 2012.
  • More drug stores will offer food and beverage centers to compete with popular cafes and super stores, to encourage shoppers to stay longer.

Yet, still many businesses and consumers alike are in a holding pattern, causing wallets to still be tight while the upcoming Presidential elections take place. There are some consumers who have increased their spending, while others still maintain a frugal mindset. A recent Gallop Poll shows that as of October 4, 2012, consumer spending has remained stable. Financial experts are predicting this will be one of the most lucrative holiday seasons, with many retailers putting their holiday merchandise out on shelves early to stimulate spending.

For businesses engaged in the CPG market, now is not the time to be shy about staffing for the upcoming busy season for consumer sales. While it may not be feasible to add many full time staffers to the payroll, this can be an opportune time to contract with a staffing agency to provide flexible staff for promotional events and heavy sales periods. This can be a cost effective way of handling the demands in CPG while maintaining quality that drives revenues.

Look to Stark Talent for employee support in CPG growth efforts in 2012. Our pre-screened candidates are ready to begin work on a contract basis to maintain your customer service and marketing efforts.