Work-Life balance has certainly changed and altered a new direction for many. Now that many of us are working from home, our dogs and pets have become our co-workers.
I remember when I would hear stories of co-workers trying to balance out their lives by making the most out of their office time, and putting in long hours during the week to enjoy time on the weekend with family, sports, and hobbies to balance things out.
Now that Covid 19 has disrupted our lives and our workspace has entered our personnel space, it seems that working from home has created a new Work-Life balance conundrum. One that needs a sense of a flexible work environment as our office space and our personnel space at home has allowed many to work constantly and has thrown our everyday life out of whack.
It has also affected my life, as I typically worked from an office, and well, my day was very regimented. I would arrive at the office, get my day laid out, conduct my day to day activities, oh yeah, throw lunch in there somewhere, and finish the day strong and go home, only to return the next morning, and repeat this for the week.
Now that I am working from home and have set up a replica office, like the one I had worked in, I had to build up a new work routine, and try to mitigate distractions, like the TV, the dog, my significant other, while she was working at home, and the constant checking for new emails, even after the day was done, knowing the computer was just 1 room away. Ironically I swear I would almost hear it calling me to check the incoming emails, send one more email out or finish up one more thing.
What did I do to elevate stress? I created a flexible work environment. I also included a regimented workout before I started my day to clear the cobwebs out and get my blood flowing to start my day. Every other day I would walk the dog to split up my day in between the calls, emails, and follow-ups to clients. There is no TV while I am in the office, so I am not limited by distraction. I also set times that I would dedicate to the office.
I set these parameters for my work environment to coral my “A” type personality, that being shared, without these parameters, I would want to work constantly. Although, I still do check my email occasionally at night, or before I go to bed, and I will plan out my next day knowing that the next day will begin in just a few short hours, and on the weekend. I do send out a random email knowing that my office is just in the other room, but I am working on the balance that I need to survive the Covid-19 pandemic and the changes that are in front of us to eke out a work-life balance.
When running a small business it gets to the point where your garage gets full and dealing with all of the orders becomes a full-time job. Don’t worry this is where Complemar can help you solve all your problems and eliminate stress. Order fulfillment will not only save you the hassle, most likely it will save you money too! Complemar can get lower shipping rates and make sure your customers are all taken care of in a timely fashion. Here are some other benefits that you could see when you outsource your order fulfillment!
When taking care of all of your orders you might be limited to the area around you because of shipping costs. This is where we can help you. We have experience packaging orders for a plethora of clients and will make sure that they will get their package faster than if you shipped it all on your own. We do this by having warehouses strategically placed around the United States to ensure that when an order is placed it will be shipped from a central location or the nearest location to the customers.
We are making sure we have all the tools for you as a business to succeed. This means that we have state of the art technology and processes that streamline the process of getting things done fast and reliably. Some things that will be provided by a click of a button is inventory management and security on your inventory. No matter if you have custom packaging or if you are shipping hundreds of things per day no order is too big for Complemar to handle
With less time spent on packaging boxes and round trips to the post office, you can focus more on your business. We are here to help you succeed and grow and we want to be alongside you to support and watch it happen. The free time that you will have will be immense, which you can put towards researching upcoming trends in your market or even just talking to prospective customers to see what the next new item will be.
There are many benefits of order fulfillment and it is a great investment because of the economic value that we bring in discounted rates on shipping. Also not to mention the opportunity cost of you being busy packaging your amazing products for your customers. We want to invite you to set up a meeting with us and see if you would make a good fit for our company. We have years of experience in the industry and are eager to help!
The Complemar Software and IT departments are a part of Complemar that keeps the process working.
At Complemar we have 5 locations that are all interconnected to each other. This has to be up and running 24/7, so our locations can process orders. We try to have fault-tolerant solutions with no single point of failure.
The Complemar IT department is helping employees and customers with multiple items and issues throughout the day. It could be a small issue as the wrong zip code on an order to the system is down. The System Administrators and Software Engineers field all of these issues.
Complemar has its own custom software solution and the software engineers are adding new features and troubleshooting issues every day.
Leading these departments makes for a busy and fast-paced day.
The day starts with reviewing emails, making sure everyone is at work.
Then the barrage starts with solving the ticket issues from the previous day that were not completed. Keeping over 140 servers and 280 PC's running is a constant job for the IT department as well as helping all of the users on the system. My team takes care of simple password resets to system down events.
Our Software development team adheres to the agile development process,
One thing that separates Agile from other approaches to software development is the focus on the people doing the work and how they work together. Solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams utilizing the appropriate practices for their context. Managers of this process make sure team members have, or obtain, the right skill sets. Managers must provide an environment that allows the team to be successful. Managers should let their team figure out how they are going to deliver products, but step in when the teams try but are unable to resolve issues. When most teams and organizations start doing Agile software development, they focus on the practices that help with collaboration and organizing the work, which is great. However, another key set of practices that are not as frequently followed but should be are specific technical practices that directly deal with developing software in a way that helps your team deal with uncertainty. Those technical practices are essential and something you shouldn’t overlook.
When you are in the IT business your day can bounce around from task to task every day. Some days you feel like you have not accomplished anything but worked on 100's of issues and tasks.
This is another hat worn here also. Making sure that all the cameras are working and managing the access control system for all employees. I am reviewing footage daily to make sure our people and buildings are safe and secure.
We are always looking for new solutions to address issues and requirements.
Our main facility is located in NY State and with COVID19 there were a lot of regulations that we have to address. Each person that enters our buildings have to have their temperature taken and they have to fill out the required questions for the state. We have set up an infra-red system that takes your temperature and also a simple web page solution to record the required question for the state.
We are currently in the development of a few solutions to make our fulfillment line more productive and error-free. These solutions will use AI to help the operator process orders remembering similar order types to speed up the process.
We are also updating systems and software daily to keep up with ever-changing technology.
If you like a busy and changing work environment then IT work is where it is. Just remember that in an IT job it is a 24/7 job so be prepared.
Everyone has a story, with experiences that shape their values and views on life.
I have been an Operations Supervisor/Manager for 20+ years in the Logistics and Warehousing industry. I was fortunate to serve my country in the U.S. Army where I began to learn the importance of leadership and teamwork. I am also a father of two and a husband. I have coached little league sports for nine years while my son and daughter were growing up. These life experiences helped me to understand that teamwork is essential for everything in life. Whether it is dealing with a family situation, participating in a team sport, hosting social functions, or even in the workplace, teamwork is at the center of success and growth. That is not to say that an individual cannot achieve greatness, but that foundation of teamwork and the essential support of a team is what helps them to succeed. I have been very fortunate in my years to be a part of many great teams, whether as a participant or leader. It is the ability to succeed and push through conflict that often helps draw out some of the best individuals and teams.
Key Pillars to Teamwork:
Communication is the most important pillar in any relationship, whether it be personal or professional. Communication in principle needs to go both ways – or in business, up and down the ladder. A common mistake that individuals in leadership roles make is that they assume that delegation is communication. The misconception is that if they need a task to be done, then all they need do is tell their subordinates to complete said task, and the task will be completed. That is not the case in most situations, as a leader should explain not only the expectations of the request but also the purpose of it. The more information that a team member has, the more valuable and invested they become. The reverse can be said for communication up the ladder, as more common than not individuals feel uncomfortable or afraid to ask for more information from their leaders. In this case, the result is they do not meet the expectations of the request due to a lack of clarity. By getting clarification on any tasks, it helps open up a dialogue with their leaders and create a more open path of communication for future projects and thus strengthening that relationship. The same can be said with your peers, as open communication helps build teams.
Understanding is needed between all parties that are involved in any venture. We all come from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, and to work together we need to have a basic understanding of (and respect for) each other. That is not to say that we all have to “like” each other and get to know everyone on a personal level, but it does mean that we need to have a better understanding of our teammates. This understanding will also assist leaders in communicating with their teams and ensuring the message is delivered via the best method possible. In turn, the team members will gain an understanding of their leaders’ methodology, reasonings, directions, or requests. Understanding each other will also help resolve the conflicts that could arise in a productive and respectful manner.
Accountability is the one pillar that everyone agrees is needed, and yet no one wants to enforce or have it enforced on them. Accountability is essential in any team, and for all team members. The key to accountability is to eliminate favoritism in all forms and ensure there is a clear understanding of the task/rules/policies/expectations. A company’s attendance policy is a common point of contention within a team. As with all policies, any exception sets precedence. You can make exceptions on an individual basis as long as you make those exceptions available to ALL members of the team. Situations happen unexpectedly and being flexible helps strengthen the team. However, something like this needs to be controlled to be effective. Individual team members also need to do a better job of holding themselves accountable in instances like this, as not being there for your team when expected is not being accountable to your team. Teamwork helps foster accountability on many levels, as you commit to your team.
I say learning instead of training because anyone can train - but to be a great team member, you need to want to learn what is needed and why. Often training is completed more out of necessity or policy and is always someone else’s responsibility. Being part of a team means taking ownership of yourself and making sure that you learn everything you can to be an asset to the team. You should not only want to learn your role but those of the team members around you. Team members that understand the impact they have on other team members, the business, and your customers are the team members that stand out. Knowledge of the process, flow, or purpose will make the team stronger.
If you aren’t having fun then why bother? When participating in a sport or social engagement you try to enjoy yourself. Why not do the same in a business environment? Not everyone gets along all of the time and the definition of “work” is not necessarily thought of in the same terms as fun. Sometimes to just attempt the interjection of a little levity in the workplace will brighten those around you and help improve the team’s engagement. “Time flies when you are having fun”, so why not try to have some fun? This is also a case of “Lead by example”, regardless of your position on the team encouraging others to do the same. Morale goes both ways in a team, so try to bring your team(s) up and not down. They say a smile is contagious.
These five pillars are what I believe help a team grow and become more successful. Those that have known me both personally and professionally know that I have tried to live by all five, regardless of whether it was in my personal life, sports, or business. Knowing that I am not perfect, and these five pillars are not always easy to follow, but by continuing to try to foster these concepts - I believe that I will grow as a team leader and teammate in all that I do.
This past year has been challenging for all as we try to deal with the COVID-19 Pandemic across the globe. Businesses being forced to shut down either temporarily or permanently have put stress on the economy and individuals’ personal lives. Everyone has an opinion on how things could have or should have been handled. However, that is not what I want to touch base on. I want to call out how proud I am of the team that we have here at Complemar. We have had to endure the ups and downs of the Pandemic, inside and outside the workplace. Their continuous efforts and dedication as a team makes me want to push through and be a better team member. I want to continue to provide excellent service not only to my external customers but also for them… the team that makes it happen every day! The Complemar TEAM.
People tend to use the term “Quality” as a catch-all for any function that makes sure we get things right. Under that umbrella, Complemar uses different kinds of Quality methods.
Quality Assurance is the term used to describe the maintenance of a desired level of quality in a service or product. That is, we make sure that the process is set up to produce the desired outcome, especially by means of attention to every stage.
Quality Control is a system of maintaining standards by inspecting a sample of the output against a specification. For example, QC is used when we get first-piece approval, or when we check incoming materials for the right quantity and condition, or when we check that outgoing materials have the right paperwork.
Quality Management System
System Quality is an organized effort to manage how businesses provide products or services they sell. Its primary goal is to ensure that companies act responsibly and have the organizational structure, procedures, processes, and resources in place. That’s what Complemar talks about when we mention “ISO.” ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 are sets of stringent quality management system requirements that we comply with.
In our business, we also look at how well we control our inventory. It’s vitally important to our customers (and to their customers) that we know exactly how much of their stuff we have on hand for them to sell. We ensure Inventory Quality by carefully keeping track of where we put things away and where we pick them from (Quality Assurance). Additionally, we perform cycle counts and random location verifications to double-check that customer property is where it’s supposed to be (Quality Control).
These quality functions are in place to make sure we satisfy our customers.
When it comes to increasing the size of your social media audience, one usually thinks that the higher the number the better the outcome, that is false. That number may seem better and it will increase the reach on your posts but the real metric that matters is engagement. Engagement is when your customers like, comment, or share your posts, and here are a few tips for you to increase your social media engagement and some of the benefits it might have on your company.
Post content that your audience will enjoy
For this, you have to put yourself in your consumers' shoes and ask yourself, is this something I would enjoy? Is this something that would catch my attention and entice me to comment and like? These are all thoughts that you should be thinking about when creating content to post on your social media accounts. You want to create content that people will want to interact with and would drive a response from people, even if that response is just a double click on a picture. One thing to stay away from is posting content that might drive potential customers away, so if you have a post that you think is controversial it is best kept in the drafts. Lastly, on every post encourage your audience to like, or click a link, people are more likely to interact with your postings if you ask them to.
Have a set schedule
This one will require some research. As a business, you need to see when your customers are most active. You can do this by using a set schedule for two weeks and slightly change the time and compare the two to see which one is best. Doing this will require patience, but it will increase the number of likes, comments, and shares that each of your posts will have. Before the tests secondary research is essential. One can look online and see when most people are on certain apps with a quick google search. You could use those times and days as a baseline and work from there. Because posting on a set schedule, mostly when posting multiple times a day is hard using an automated system where you can create the post-before-hand can be life-saving. One social media tool that is affordable is Buffer. This site allows you to create multiple posts before-hand and schedule when you want them to be published.
No matter the platform images capture the audience's attention. According to Buffer.com, tweets that include images tend to gain 150% more retweets than tweets that don’t include them. No matter the platform, if it is Twitter or LinkedIn a picture that is related to what you are writing about is crucial to getting the person to stop on their feed and read what you have written.
Over time using these steps and others will help you garner more attention to your page that will result in a loyal following and when offering a product, more sales. There is a saying that says it is about quality, not quantity, these are words to live by, if it is about the post that you are creating, or if it is about the followers that you are gaining. You do not want to clog someone's feed. Creating unique and attention-grabbing posts will make them more inclined to interact with your content and when attracting an audience, having a customer base that will support your posts will have a greater effect than the number of followers on your account.
Social media is growing to be one of the biggest forms of media and is growing at an unprecedented pace with over 59 percent of the world’s population having a social media presence the potential reach is unlimited and can be a cheaper option compared to print and tv ads. Social media has so much potential because consumers log into and view their feeds daily, which allows them to consume large amounts of media and ads. One thing that is a barrier to entry is how complex it is. Social media is always evolving and hard to keep up with. What might have been a trend one day is gone the next, but with time you could become a social media marketing pro! Here are some reasons why if your company has not looked into social media marketing to put it at the top of your list.
Social media offers the unique opportunity to show your audience and consumer the “behind the scenes” and insight into some of their favorite brands. This is where you can connect with your audience and relate to them, reach out, and respond to them. Doing this will build a closer bond with your customer and their loyalty to your brand will show.
Comparatively to traditional media, the same reach will cost fractions. The most important to grow a page or brand naturally online is to post consistently and have relatable posts. Something else that is crucial is the use of keywords. Using keywords on your posts could garner more traffic and may result in a conversion. By doing this you will gather a following that will be more interested in your brand and may convert to customers in the future.
In this day and age when people have questions or concerns they are not going to call a hotline instead, they might send your company a message on social media or post on their feed something that they might find concerning about your product or brand. Here you can help the customer and also show a sense of authenticity. If someone is talking poorly about your brand or product, you can now reach out to the customer and support them. However, this needs to be done promptly. Time is crucial and keeping the customer waiting for a response is never an option.
Social media is only going to grow and starting might be a daunting task, but it is crucial. Nearly 80 percent of companies share content on social media and not having the presence will put you at an instant disadvantage when it comes to SEO and trying to win over customers. When starting, remember to target the most effective social media platforms, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. One thing to never forget is a following is not gained over a day, but with quality content and a strict posting schedule, your pages are bound to gain impressions and draw attention from potential customers.
The challenge is in the design, development, communication, and collaborative execution.
Brand and Business Management in today’s business climate is not JUST about selecting the BEST component partners, but creating a communication process and detailed “plan” that integrates all partners (from Conceptual Development to Logistics/Fulfillment/Distribution) – thereby ensuring consistent communication throughout the lifetime of any campaign. Net, net – organization + streamlined communication + detailed integration process = greater profit margin and revenue!
The Financial Pro-forma:
In organizing and executing a well-planned Brand and Business Management structure – the first initiative is to develop a sound financial plan. Detailing a Breakeven and Cash Flow analysis will ensure that all components (i.e. Median Media expenditure, Upsell and Premium integration, Cost of Goods, Component partner cost, etc.) are evaluated, negotiated, and projected. The financial Pro-forma provides a working document of financial data that provides an opportunity to evaluate the viability of a business initiative while deciphering all cash flow and capital expenditures needed to initiate a realistic business. The Pro-forma also allows for the analysis of any potential media and inventory funding that might be necessary to either offset current cash flow or provide funding that would otherwise not exist.
Brand and Business Management – Gantt and PERT chart construction and ever-evolving analysis:
Since the essence of sound Brand and Business Management involves the consistent review of all component partners – from Manufacturing to Distribution – a well-designed and executed Gantt and/or PERT chart must be developed. Within this structure – all methodical steps in the process are outlined, projected date ranges are profiled, and partner accountability is measured (including client partner involvement). This evolving organization segments all component partners, by providing ongoing detail as to the “what”, “where”, “how”, “when” and even “why” of all task deliverables. The truest value – above and beyond the organization and detail – is in the constant communication that takes place between every component partner.
This organization provides for a NON-SILOED, collaborative campaign structure that promotes “shared knowledge” and the assurance that all partners will work together with commonality and client objectives at the forefront of all action. The design of the Gantt and/or PERT chart will always allow for adjustment and will provide all partners with a “view” of campaign progression and actual deadlines. This is critical in maintaining all client campaign “launch” objectives – while measuring all benchmarks and achieving milestones during a campaign. This evolving document is the architecture by which all collaboration and program measurements take place.
Communications Integration and Client Partner Care (CPC)
Above and beyond all process mapping, component integration and implementation, campaign management, and benchmarking – is the critical component of communication and Client Care. As all firms should be dedicated to the success of client partner programs – the consistent and accountable communication that takes place between all component partners is paramount in achieving all client partner goals and objectives. This – above all else – is vital in maintaining program performance and achieving anticipated projections. Simply, with the attention paid to astute, interactive client engagement, the opportunity for long term success is eminent.
Benchmarking and Measurement:
To qualify and quantify the actual results and ongoing measurement of any Brand and Business Management program - Benchmarking must be instituted to ensure performance measurement and accurate review of all campaign components. Through all processes, procedures, service level review – the ability to benchmark both internal – and external – functions is necessary for providing consistent measurement during each phase of program development. As a periodic review of all operations process (i.e. inventory control, fulfillment accuracies, data and report analysis, program, and functional behavior, technology effectiveness, logistics and customer care cost assessment, etc.), setting benchmark standards will allow for accurate “reviews” of all components of the logistic and customer care mix. These processes will also provide a safeguard for continuous learning, continuous improvement, and program success.
Although benchmarking is a technique and application associated with “task” oriented issues – the challenge to benchmark internal functions is often satisfied by “employing” the services of external consultants, attending and exhibiting at trade events, involvement in educational seminars – and most important – LISTEN to your client partners!
As we have learned – the successful art of Brand and Business Management not only entails the thorough review of all best practice component partners but the astute execution of all communication and coordinated information sharing. As we start to evaluate each business initiative – it is critical to maintain organization, expert implementation, and multi-channel awareness in each facet of a program. The measure of a truly successful business is in the people involved in the brand, the expert process that is employed – and the calculated measurement that drives all sales!
When a customer is vetting Complemar, how do they know that we are a viable and consistent option for their business needs? They usually start by looking at our certifications and do they align with Complemar competitors. The industry standard for these certifications is ISO 9001 for manufacturing/warehousing and ISO 13485 for the assembly of medical devices.
Complemar is currently certified in ISO 9001 at all of our Fulfillment and Print locations, Rochester, Buffalo (Print), Oklahoma City, Sparks, and Middletown and 13485 at our Healthcare facility in Rochester, NY. This means that we have a robust quality system, and this system is audited yearly by an independent ISO auditor.
Every year an independent auditor enters our facilities and looks at our quality system, procedures, and interviews not only the quality team but the operators on the manufacturing floor, the project management team, and company leadership. Then they can audit any of the corresponding work orders and the quality documentation that is associated with those work orders, to make sure that we are following our procedures, are following good documentation practices, and doing what we say we are doing in our quality system. The auditor also can look at the way we purchase material or train our staff, they have an open door to our company and how we do business.
First, what is ISO?
What is 9001?
What is 13485?
What is a medical device?
What does this mean to our customers?
These standards are the backbone of how we do business at Complemar. It gives our customers the peace of mind that their experience at Complemar has been audited to a consistent standard that has crossed the industry. This also provides the customer the security to not only know that we have a robust quality system but that we also follow that system, giving the “peace of mind, delivered”.
In 1999, E-commerce sales accounted for only 1% of the total retail sales in the US. In 2017 it was more than 9% (a 3,000 percent increase). Over the last four years, the sales increased by 13 – 16%, which outpaced traditional retail sales, which are generally between 1% & 5%. The industry has estimated that e-commerce sales will reach 17.5% of retail sales by 2021 for the entire world.
So E-Commerce is on the upswing. How has this affected transportation and logistics in the Fulfillment industry?
It can be hard to keep up with the constant changes in the Fulfillment Industry. The most important things to remember are:
Follow these simple guidelines to help your company to stay on the right side of E-Commerce Growth.