COSE WebEd Series: Part 3: International Freight Forwarding Recap

Did you miss the last edition of the COSE WebEd Series: Ship Smart and Save Money Presented by Ascent Global Logistics? Catch the full webinar below!

The third and final part to the COSE WebEd Series: Ship Smart and Save Money Presented by Ascent Global Logistics is now available. This webinar outlines the twelve steps involved in international shipping and the different ways that Ascent can help you ship smart.

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    Next up: COSE WebEd Series: Ship Smart and Save Money Wrap Up
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  • COSE WebEd Series: Ship Smart and Save Money Wrap Up

    Did you miss the first webinar in the COSE WebEd Series: Ship Smart and Save Money Presented by Ascent Global Logistics? Catch the full webinar below!

    Ascent Global Logistics (formerly known to COSE Members as GTS), is hosting a webinar series to help you ship smarter and save money. In the first webinar, attendees learned about 3 key areas shippers can streamline shipping processes to save time and money. Ascent's team of experts explained how you can save time, money and resources with:

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    • Domestic and International shipping best practices
    • Properly classifying freight
    • Essential shipping documentation and tips to avoid common errors

    Catch the full webinar below!

    Interested in learning more? Make sure to register for the next webinar in the series on October 18, 2017.

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    Next up: Creating a New Customer Experience
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  • Creating a New Customer Experience

    Why is Starbucks so successful in selling you a $4.00 cup of coffee when McDonald’s charges $2.00? Why does a stay at a Ritz Carlton hotel seem much different than a stay at the Holiday Inn?

    Why is Starbucks so successful in selling you a $4.00 cup of coffee when McDonald’s charges $2.00?

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    Why does a stay at a Ritz Carlton hotel seem much different than a stay at the Holiday Inn?

    Today, many people would answer that it’s all about customer service but they are wrong!  Both McDonald’s and Holiday Inn offer incredible customer service. However, Starbucks and Ritz Carlton understand something that many brands don’t – it’s all about the customer EXPERIENCE!

    Customer experience has become a new small business buzzword, and I’m not sure that most organizations really get it.  Service is what you offer your customers every day as a trained professional; it is personal and comes from the heart.  Customer experience is about considering our customers’ experiences from the minute they make contact with our organization until they are done.  This involves so many more people than just you.

    Organizations that purposefully examine every customer touch point — the opportunities we have to influence the customer from the parking lot, to reception, to billing and many more — are those that will excel at customer experience. Companies that drive the experience messaging throughout every department and to every single worker regardless of title or contribution level (part time or full time) will inspire employees to help create a positive customer experience.

    2013 study conducted by Gallup found that only 50% of Americans were engaged at what they do every day. By having everyone consider their specific customer touch points and how they can make them better will become more engaged at what they do and ultimately, the customer benefits.

    The experience has to start with you as the business owner.  Talk with as many people as you can (customers, employees, stakeholders, etc.) and ask, “What is the (fill in the name of your organization) experience?”  Then figure out how to shatter the stereotype of the experience customers EXPECT to have with you, your department or with your organization.  Ask yourself, “What small touch point could I focus on this week that will ultimately shatter that stereotype?”

    Imagine going to a new restaurant that has been touted as the best in town.  You arrive at 7:50 for an 8 p.m. reservation and are seated right on time. You go on to have the best service and possibly the best food you have ever eaten.  At one point, the chef comes out to your table and explains how each of your dishes was prepared.  The manager checks on you a few times.  It’s perfect.  After dinner, you proceed to go outside, you provide your parking ticket to the car valet, and your car arrives 55 minutes later!  Isn’t that part of the overall experience?  Of course it is.  But let’s take this to the next step.  It is now three months later and you have told hundreds of people to go to that new restaurant because the food is amazing and the service is outstanding.  Then, you finish with one word. BUT!  “…BUT your car will take forever to get to you after dinner.”  I think my next book’s title should be, “What Comes After the But?”

    So, what does this have to do with you and your business?  Everything!  The minute we get ourselves and our employees asking “What comes after the but” is the minute we start to become 100% customer-centric. “The receptionist is wonderful but I got lost in voicemail after that” or “I have always purchased my clothes from them but they have no clue who I am.” We need to examine the touch points mentioned earlier and imagine what the customer could say.  To start to make a shift from service to experience, begin by examining those touch points and see the world through THEIR eyes not yours.

    Certified Speaking Professional Jeff Tobe speaks, consults and trains with health care organizations around the world in designing and implementing the ideal patient experience.  His latest book, “ANTICIPATE: Knowing What Customers Need Before They Do”,focuses on creating exceptional customer experiences.  Jeff was chosen as one of the top 15 speakers in North America by readers of Meetings and Conventions magazine.  For more information, visit JeffTobe.com.


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    Next up: Creekside Restaurant and Bar
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  • Creekside Restaurant and Bar

    Creekside Restaurant and Bar has been serving customers in Northeast Ohio delicious food and beverages for 24 years. As long time Brecksville residents, Matt and Shirley Harper have been dedicated to making Creekside Restaurant and Bar an integral member of their local communities. They take great pride in the business they have developed and continue looking forward to serving their customers for many years to come. As they continue to meet the needs of their customers and diversify their offerings, the restaurant offers a full range of services from delicious dining, carry out ordering, catering, hosting parties in their party room, happy hour specials, and offering special treats for dining in or taking home to enjoy for later and/or special occasions.

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    Creekside Restaurant and Bar 

    Owner: Matt Harper

    Introduction:

    Creekside Restaurant and Bar has been serving customers in Northeast Ohio delicious food and beverages for almost 24 years.

    As long time Brecksville residents, Matt and Shirley Harper have been dedicated to making Creekside Restaurant and Bar an integral member of their local communities. They take great pride in the business they have developed and continue looking forward to serving their customers for many years to come. As they continue to meet the needs of their customers and diversify their offerings, the restaurant offers a full range of services from delicious dining, carry out ordering, catering, hosting parties in their party room, happy hour specials, and offering special treats for dining in or taking home to enjoy for later and/or special occasions. 

    As part of their ongoing planning, Matt sought to learn how to reduce his energy expenses. The COSE energy team provided the Harper’s with a comprehensive energy assessment through Dominion’s Nonresidential Energy Program (link to site). It was important to Matt to better understand how the restaurant used energy, and to identify opportunities for reduced expenses.

    Benefits:

    Matt learned of COSE energy services through the Brecksville Chamber of Commerce where he serves as an active board member.  “The process was pretty easy” explained Matt.  “The entire process took about a month from the first point of contact and scheduling, having the audit done, and reviewing the report with one of COSE’s energy advisors.” The process and audit report were  very beneficial because it informed us of the small things (low to no cost measures) that we could do ourselves that would have an energy saving impact all the way up to what the most expensive that may require a contractor.  What I liked most is that everything had a cost associated with it along with a payback or the ROI attached to it.  The report provided information that showed us approximately how long it would take us to recoup our investment by upgrading our space.”

    COSE helped Matt prioritize the reports recommendations, and maximize his resources.   Matt leveraged the energy audit to motivate him to do more research and dig into ways their business could save money.  In January of 2016 Creekside Restaurant will be closing down to undergo a four-day light renovation to switch out all their lights to LED’s along with replacing their dishwasher.  These changes alone will allow the restaurant to function at greater efficiency and will save a significant amount of money. 

    Other information:

    Total sq ft., 7300 sq ft

    Identified energy savings, $16,782  (31%)

    Top ECMs: Lighting, Kitchen Hood controls, HVAC controls

    Energy Projects: 

    1. Lighting project – switching out all lights to LED’s
    2. Replacing dishwasher (will reduce significant chemical usage, electricity, water)
    3. Replacing gaskets on refrigeration units – will save electricity
    4. Parking lot lighting (talked with landlord about having them replaced with LED’s which would save a significant amount of money)


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    Next up: Cuyahoga County Councilman Dave Greenspan Addresses COSE Advocacy Committee
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  • Cuyahoga County Councilman Dave Greenspan Addresses COSE Advocacy Committee

    Councilman Greenspan recently joined the COSE Advocacy Committee, sharing his perspective on the work of Cuyahoga County Council and how he and County Council may focus on small business initiatives moving forward.

    Dave Greenspan has served as a Cuyahoga County Councilman since 2011 and he represents approximately 42 square miles of Cuyahoga County; his district includes the cities of Bay Village, Fairview Park, North Olmsted, Rocky River, and Westlake.  The Councilman has held leadership positions with Atlanta Olympic Broadcasting, Turner Media Consultants, and the PGA TOUR Radio Network. Currently, he is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Green Elk Consulting Services, a consulting company that focuses on emerging/start-up ventures and turn-around business entities. 

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    Councilman Greenspan recently joined the COSE Advocacy Committee, and after the meeting recorded this video, sharing his perspective on the work of Cuyahoga County Council and how he and County Council may focus on small business initiatives moving forward.


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    Next up: Data Disaster: 5 Backup Blunders to Avoid
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  • Data Disaster: 5 Backup Blunders to Avoid

    Your business is just one disaster away from losing all of its data. The key to mitigating this damage is to have a backup recovery plan—but don’t make these five mistakes when you put your plan together.

    At some point and at some level, your organization will experience a data disaster. When that happens, backup and recovery are two necessities you don’t want to have trouble with. However, mistakes do happen. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of data backup and disaster recovery and what mistakes to avoid to experience business continuity after a disaster.

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    Malware, loss of power, a crashed server, fire or a disgruntled employee are all reasons you could face a data recovery situation. When that time comes, you will want to make sure you have a fool-proof disaster recovery plan in place.

    Think about it. Are you prepared to handle a disaster? Sure, you think you have it all covered. After all, what are those daily backups for? However, when it comes to restoring your data the trouble can come with how quickly and efficiently you can make it happen. Every minute of downtime could cost you another dollar.

    Many organizations are turned away by the time intensive nature of disaster recovery planning. When a disaster strikes, though, only a properly implemented backup and disaster recovery plan will keep your business afloat.

    Still not convinced. Well, consider that the Federal Emergency Management Agency states that 40% of businesses do not open after a disaster and another 25% will fail within a year.

    Here are a few other statistics about data breaches:

         • A total of 90% of all businesses have suffered a cyber attack.

         • The industry average breach goes undetected for more than eight months.

         • The average organization experiences 1,400 attempts to their network every week.

    Further, ransomware payments in 2016 hit $1 billion, which is up from 2015 payments of $24 million.

         • RELATED: Learn more about surviving a ransomware attack https://youtu.be/ovwqRqo_VLk

    Unfortunately, the statistics are not in our favor. It’s important to ensure you have your bases covered when it comes to your organizational disaster recovery plan. Here are some of the most common backup and recovery mistakes enterprises make- and how to avoid them.

    Mistake No. 1: Going it alone

    The responsibility of creating a disaster recovery strategy may fall on the IT department, but it can not fall on them alone. Recovery is an enterprise-wide responsibility that should include users, leaders, financial managers, partners and legal experts. They can help define what common types of disasters to plan for and which applications/data is mission critical. Managed Service Providers can help create, test and implement recovery plans to properly protect business resources. They can help you, along with other members of your organization, prepare for all disaster types from hardware or system malfunctions to human errors.

    Mistake No. 2: Overlooking the people part

    Disaster recovery is heavily involved in IT equipment and data, but it must also account for your physical locations, power supplies, communications and people. Don’t forget to think of things such as offsite locations for employees to work and what they will need to continue operations in case of an emergency. Don’t forget to document your plan in detail and educate your employees on these steps. If your employees are properly educated on the steps to take during and after a disaster, you can get your business up and running quickly and efficiently.

    Mistake No. 3: Not testing for all scenarios

    The next step after establishing your disaster recovery plan is to test. And test regularly under what-if scenarios. If you can’t be confident in your plan under normal conditions, you won’t be comfortable under extreme pressure. Assess your levels of tolerance with each different disaster scenario. While doing this, create a clear recovery point objective (RPO) that will determine your tolerance for lost data. As well as your recovery time objective (RTO) which will outline how much downtime you can afford in minutes, hours and days. The answers to these will vary for different industries and organizations. One thing to keep in mind, the lower the tolerance the higher the cost. Conducting tests can help you identify and mitigate weaknesses while building confidence in your plan.

    Mistake No. 4: Have a backup plan for your backup plan

    What if something goes wrong to your backup plan? Have a backup plan for your backup plan. No disaster recovery plan is fool-proof. Continuously bolster yours by confiding in a managed service provider that builds robust redundancy at secure, off-site locations. At our organization, Netserve365, we have partnered with Iron Mountain, a concurrently maintainable Tier-III designed, 220-feet underground, data center located in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Data that is backed up is stored locally and is replicated to the Iron Mountain Data Center. If your original backup site fails or files become corrupted, you’ll have a secure and reliable data set to pull from.

    Mistake No. 5: Data recovery is a onetime deal

    As business naturally evolves and changes are made, it makes sense your disaster recovery plan must change to align properly. Revisit and update your plan several times a year, as well as whenever big changes are made. Once these updates are implemented, retest your plan to make sure everything is working smoothly.

    While there may never be a completely fool-proof backup and recovery plan, you can definitely create an effective plan that will get you through tough times. With careful planning, regular testing and consistent updates, your plan can withstand whatever comes your way.

    About NetServe365

    NetServe365 delivers a complete range of managed IT services, security services, hosting options and consulting services 24/7/365 worldwide, with our primary markets in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Virginia. We never stop evolving our technologies and operational efficiencies so we can deliver a customer experience and network results far superior to our competitors’. We strive to deliver on every promise, every time because we know who we work for--the partners and customers who put their trust in us. Learn more about NetServe365 here.

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