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Beginning a New Project After Lockdown? Invest in Resource Management

How It Can Help Your Business

Resource management can help you to cut down on costly mistakes – and that’s never been more important than right now.

Are you preparing to resume operations after the lifting of the appropriate lockdown restrictions? Then you don’t need us to tell you that it’s a critical time for your business. Here’s how the right resource management software can help you to navigate the uncertain times that lay ahead.

Emerging from lockdown

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus crisis has brought businesses across the UK to a standstill. Lockdown measures are being eased now, so many businesses are starting to resume operations again. Whether you work in in non essential retail, construction, or any of the other sectors just emerging from a three month hibernation, you don’t need us to tell you that right now is a crucial time for your business.

Pressure to get things right

Right now, the pressure to get things right is immense. Customers and clients have been waiting a long time for your products or services, and chances are they have really high expectations. You have probably been gearing up to resume working for some time now. You’ll have had to make adjustments for social distancing and additional hygiene measures. However, that isn’t the only thing that you should be focusing on as you prepare to undertake your next big project.

Resource management

Resource management has always been important for businesses, but right now investing in it is more critical than it has ever been. After three months of reduced income, or in the case of some businesses none at all, the purse strings have never been tighter. Resource management will help you to allocate the right amount of resources to a project. Not too much so that you end up overspending when you don’t need to, and not too little that you will experience costly delays.

How to get started

So, how do you get started with resource management? A lot of businesses across the UK like to manage their resources using software. This helps them to cut down on the costs of additional staff, and frees up existing staff members’ time to focus on other areas of concern – allowing you to deliver great customer service. Software is also able to identify mistakes and alert you to them much more quickly that a human. So if you do run into some issues, you will be able to resolve them promptly.

The people to call

Where can you find the software that UK businesses trust? Innate Management are the software providers of choice for many companies. Whether they are small businesses or large, established enterprises, Innate Management provide tailored support. The software is easy to use, and provides great value for money. Whether you have worked with a resource management software provider before or this is going to be your first time, you’ll be really impressed with the service.

Here’s to a bright future

Times are set to be challenging as we all slowly emerge from lockdown, but with the right tools at your disposal there’s no reason why you won’t be able to keep delivering great quality products or services. So why not see how resource management could help your company today?

hurricane harvey

Diesel Generators Function More Reliably Than Power Grids Following Natural Disasters

Keeping the Services Running When We Need Them Most

Extreme weather events are a part of life. A diesel generator is essential for keeping the power flowing.

The arrival of June signals that summer is truly here, and the last thing on most people’s minds is storms and extreme weather. Across the Atlantic, however, it is another matter entirely. The National Weather Service has just completed Hurricane Awareness Week, as the US hurricane season, which typically runs from June to November, approaches.

It is now 13 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf coast from Florida right down to Texas, causing billions of dollars of damage, and 1,833 fatalities. Last year, Hurricane Irma threatened to be even more catastrophic, and Americans counted themselves fortunate that the death toll stood at just 134.

Throughout it all, generator hire services were an essential part of the relief and recovery efforts. As the US braces itself for whatever is to come, there are lessons to be learned on this side of the Atlantic, too.

Constant and reliable power

A diesel generator provides power when and where it is needed, and is not subject to the supply and distribution constraints of a national grid. When lines are brought down by trees, and supplies are shorted out by flood water, the benefit of an on-site power supply is obvious.

The interesting lesson from the US, however, is that in some situations, power delivered by diesel generators can be even more effective than the grid, even when there is not a hurricane passing through. As the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico worked to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Maria last year, diesel generators continued to power businesses and homes for months afterwards.

Powering the relief effort

When a natural disaster strikes, whether it is a hurricane in the USA or the storms, floods and heavy snow that can hit the UK without warning, the loss of power in homes and businesses is actually the least of our worries. Families might be concerned about keeping the lights on, the freezer cold and, of course, the internet connection working, but there are far more important considerations elsewhere.

As flood levels rise, endangering homes and lives, the pumps that are working flat out are all powered by diesel generators. As casualties are taken to hospitals, the medical staff are completely reliant on generator power to keep the lights on and the medical equipment functioning. And in water works, the generators kick in to ensure drinking water remains safe and that sewage does not contaminate supplies and water courses.

Preparing for disaster

It seems strange when the sun is shining to be thinking about extreme weather, but now is the perfect time to take a leaf from America’s book and ensure we are ready. The months go by, and before we know it, the storm clouds will gather.

Prepare your home or business for what lies ahead, ensure you have power back up for your home or business and then you can relax and enjoy the rest of the summer in peace.

dog on the beach on australia

Returning To Oz? Don’t Forget Your Dog!

Pre-Import And Quarantine Procedures For Pets Arriving In Australia

If you’re planning on travelling to Australia with your dog, then it’s important to visit your vet at least 7 months before travel.

With Theresa May tightening migration policies, many Australians are returning home in a bid for a better quality of life and higher salaries. A move back to the other side of the world is always going to be huge, especially if you’ve been in the UK for a while. Saying goodbye to friends is one thing, but if you’ve had a pet during your time here, it’s important not to break that bond. Dogs in particular are extremely attached to their owners and are simply devastated if they’re left behind. Instead of considering rehoming your dog, why not take it back to Australia with you? It’s much simpler than you would think.


When your pet arrives in Australia, they’ll need to be quarantined for a standard 10 days as the UK is a Category C country. This period of time has been recently reduced from the previous 30 days, and it’s fantastic to see pets and their owners reunited much quicker. It’s worth noting that Australia’s only post entry quarantine facility is located in Melbourne, Victoria. Therefore, if you are planning on travelling to another part of the country, you might need to stay in Melbourne to pick up your dog before continuing the rest of your journey.

Pre-Import Preparation

If you are planning on returning to Australia from the UK, it’s important that you don’t do so at short notice. The preparation to take your dog with you begins about 7-9 months in advance and starts with a trip to your vet. The first thing you will need to do is to get your dog microchipped, but you will also need a series of pre-shipment work to be carried out, such as parasite treatments, blood tests and acquiring a DEFRA Export Health certificate.

Deciding How To Travel

Many dog owners like to think that they’re travelling ‘with’ their pet, even if they’re not physically sat together on the flight. Animals are never permitted inside the cabin and are kept in special travel kennels in the hold of the aircraft. As your dog will be going straight off to quarantine on landing, you won’t be able to meet with him or her beforehand, so there’s little reason to fly together.

It is advised that passengers have their dog travel a day or two before they fly. This allows you to have enough time to deal with dropping off your dog at the cargo area of the airport, which is not usually located in the passenger terminal. In case of delays during this handover, a lot of stress can be avoided if this takes places on a separate day and you’re not worried about missing your own flight, or dragging your own luggage around as well as the animal crate.

The Australian Government’s Departure of Agriculture and Water Resources has a lot of information for those who want to bring their dogs and cats to Australia. But if you are finding the process at all overwhelming, then it is best to outsource the responsibility to a pet relocation firm who can take away some of the stress while you deal with wrapping up any loose ends in the UK and planning your farewell party. Get started on your pet relocation plans sooner rather than later, so you can be reunited with your furry friend in Oz asap.

first home

Home Buyers Struggling to Raise Deposits

First Time Buyers Up in 2017, but Deposits Still a Stumbling Block

After years in decline, the number of first time buyers rose in 2017. But so did the average deposit they needed to get a foot on the property ladder.

Over the past decade, the number of first time buyers has been stuttering, as those looking to strike out on their own have struggled against a tide of rising house prices. But figures released by the Halifax suggest that 2017 saw a turnaround, with around 359,000 first time buyers completing their purchases during the calendar year. This is almost back to the number reported in 2007.

Yet while the figures give cause for cautious optimism, mortgage brokers in Essex warn that the average deposit first time buyers need to find has almost doubled over the same period, from less than £18,000 in 2007 to more than £33,000 in 2017.

Help to buy

The report suggests that low interest rates and the government’s help to buy scheme have combined to push younger individuals and couples back toward the idea of buying. This comes after several years in which a growing number have seen little option but to rent. This has led in turn to the growing trend of those with money in the bank choosing buy to rent as a lucrative investment option, and making more people than ever into private landlords.

Are the latest statistics an indicator that home ownership will see a swing back towards owner occupiers? Perhaps, although in some areas, it is still almost impossible to amass the necessary funds to put down a deposit.

Geographic variation

It will come as no surprise to hear that the most expensive place to set up home is London, where the average deposit needed is an eye-watering £112,206. In the borough of Brent, the average first time property price was around £365,000, almost 13 times the gross average earnings for UK citizens.

At the other end of the scale, the picturesque borough of Copeland, on the edge of the Lake District in Cumbria, was the most reasonable, with the average price of around £82,000, or just under three times the national salary.

The nationwide average price paid by first time buyers is about £208,000, and the average in Essex stands at around £250,000. This is still more than eight times the average salary. However, more first time buyers are setting up home in the south east than anywhere else. How are they managing it?

Longer mortgage terms

Government initiatives might assist with the problem of finding that all important deposit, but that still leaves the balance of the mortgage to consider. In days gone by, the traditional calculation involved three times the household income for a mortgage over 25 years. Today, there are far more variations.

As house prices have risen faster than salaries, a growing trend has emerged towards longer mortgage terms. Ten years ago, 48 percent of first-time buyers went for a mortgage term between 20 and 25 years, and 38 percent were between 25 and 35 years. Today, the pattern has essentially reversed. Just 26 percent go for a 20 to 25 year mortgage, while 56 percent have gone for a term in excess of 25 years.

Generation Game

The Rise and Rise of Corporate Entertainment

Investing In The Happiness of Your Team

Corporate entertainment is an industry that’s just kept growing and growing in recent years.

Companies are keener to outdo their rivals than ever, and one of the most effective ways of doing this is to show their staff and clients how much they value them. It’s no surprise then, that corporate entertainment is big business. Over the past decade, companies have been going bigger and bolder with their yearly celebrations, and often call on an experienced events company to give them a hand. Here’s why the corporate entertainment industry has continued to grow, even in the most challenging economic climates.

Showing staff they are valued

Corporate entertainment is a very modern phenomenon. For many people, a staff party used to be a no-frills trip to the pub or a meal at a local restaurant. Now though, companies are keen to show how much they’re willing to invest in the happiness of their workforce. Treating your staff well isn’t just an excuse to have a party though. By doing this, bosses will inspire an immediate pick-up in productivity in the short term, and a deep loyalty to the company in the long term. So it’s a smart thing to splash out on!

An event for everyone

There are so many different kinds of team building events for employers to choose from. There will be some that workers will have encountered before, such as pub quizzes and treasure hunts. They’re the perfect kind of events for a company trying their hand at team building for the first time, or those who are sceptical about its benefits. For the more adventurous company leaders though, the options are endless. Baking competitions, casino evenings and even a Crystal Maze experience are all things that you can gather your team to take part in.

Boosting client relationships

The benefits of corporate entertainment have been proven. There’s no faking a genuine emotional connection, and yet sadly that’s something that can often be neglected in business. Corporate events don’t just boost the mood in the workplace – they boost client relationships too. When you don’t see someone every day it can be hard to maintain a connection. A well thought out event can really make the difference. A recent survey found that over 80% of senior business managers thought that corporate events strengthened personal relationships with their clients. There’s no arguing with those numbers.

Think big

So why not think outside the box for your next corporate event? It’s been proven that pushing the envelope has real benefits, so don’t settle for an end of year meal or some hastily arranged drinks. Your clients and your staff have been boosting the fortunes of your company all year, and it’s only right that you lay on some first class corporate entertainment. That’s what’s propelled the industry in recent years – bosses are keen to show that they care about their team.

The industry has never been in better shape

It may be too late to arrange some great corporate entertainment for this year’s winter festivities, but why not make it your New Year’s resolution to arrange something for 2018? Adding some regular events to your company schedule will ensure that you have a happy, hard working team from January to December.

MS Future Decoded 2017

Future Decoded Highlights Rise of AI and Microsoft Azure

Emerging Technologies Take Centre Stage at Microsoft Event

This year’s Future Decoded event covered a range of areas, but the hot topic of AI was ever-present and crept into every discussion.

31 Oct and 01 November saw tens of thousands converge on London’s ExCel for this year’s Future Decoded. Since its inception in 2014, the event has rapidly gained recognition as the place where future trends can be pragmatically discussed and the most influential players in the industry can join together to shape the technology of tomorrow.

The discussions and keynote speeches covered the whole gamut of technological innovations, but Objective IT software developers could not help but notice that there were two topics that really dominated proceedings. These were the continuing advances in Artificial Intelligence, and of Microsoft Azure.

Julia White on AI and Cloud Tech

Microsoft’s VP of Cloud, Julia White, had a 20-minute slot on the first morning, in which she focused predominantly on these two issues, in particularly the concept of the hybrid cloud. Historically, the industry has tended to compartmentalise private and public cloud tech – Azure has been built with the single-application hybrid concept firmly in mind.

White also gave some engaging demos of how AI has crept into our lives at every level. These included an interactive car insurance site, where the site will immediately spot if you have uploaded a picture of the wrong car, and a chatbot adapts to your language and is able to get you the best deal.

Perspectives on AI

Examples like this suggest that there is a growing gap between public perception and the real-world advances in artificial intelligence. Perhaps it all comes down to the name. Over the past four decades or more, we have been exposed to so many books, movies and even computer games that deal with the concept of artificial intelligence, that we cannot help but have our perspective clouded.

The point is that AI is not about sentient computers becoming self-aware or little robot children that just want to be loved. But if it is even the case that those of us within the industry cannot help but make these mental connections from time to time, what hope does the average layman have?

Phrases like machine learning or even intelligent technology sounds less like the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters and allow us to focus on how the technology can be further developed in practical ways to help with day to day problems.

Take White’s example above – renewing car insurance is something we all have to do from time to time. If you can chat instantly with a bot to get the best deal, that’s clearly far less hassle than being stuck on the phone for half an hour talking to someone at a call centre on the other side of the world.

Building a better future

Future Decoded featured a number of other case studies showing AI and Azure in action. Microsoft blogger Martin Boam tweeted from the event to share remarkable footage of how the applications, coupled with drone technology, helped in the aftermath of the recent hurricanes. A perfect example of how emerging technology can make a big difference to people’s lives, and a demonstration of why events like this are so important.

Silver splitters

How Do Silver Splitters Divide Wealth?

The Increase in Older Divorcees Makes for Financial Complications

More over 60s are deciding to divorce than ever. This can lead to headaches and complexities when it comes to agreeing on the division of wealth.

Since the turn of the millennium the number of divorces has seen an 18 percent drop. Experts are keen to come up with a variety of reasons for this, ranging from fewer people getting married in the first place to the fact that so many living together for years before marriage, means there are fewer instances of “marry in haste, repent at leisure.”

There is, however, one demographic that is bucking this trend. The number of over 60s deciding to get divorced has risen dramatically over the same period. In 2000, approximately 6,400 men and 3,600 women over 60 got divorced. In 2013, this had gone up to almost 10,000 men and 6,200 women.

According to one of the best divorce lawyers, this rising trend in silver splitters can create greater degrees of complexity than those who divorce earlier in life. While the pain of dealing with issues such as custody and access of children is unlikely to arise, the financial side can be much more difficult to thrash out.

What are the problems?

Times are difficult enough for retirees. Pension funds are in crisis, other investments are struggling, and many are having to continue working later in life to make ends meet. To attempt to find a way of splitting resources that are already so severely limited can turn into an endeavour reminiscent of feeding the 5,000.

Where there are limited assets by way of savings, there can be genuine concerns that there will not be enough to go round, and either or both parties will have to return to work. But there is a potential solution – by the time they reach their 60s, most couples have paid off their mortgage, meaning there is plenty of equity tied up in the matrimonial home.

This does not necessarily mean selling up and splitting the proceeds, although that is certainly an option. But if one party wishes to stay in the home, another possibility is to use equity release via a lifetime mortgage to pay out their share.

How does it work?

This form of equity release is an option that is available if both parties are over 55. It allows the party who is remaining in the house to release equity from the value of the property. No monthly repayments need to be made while the party is still living in the former matrimonial home. Repayment of the principal amount plus interest only becomes due when the person either dies or goes into long term care. Typically, this will be financed by the sale of the property.

Any downsides?

Naturally, releasing equity from your property means you will leave a smaller inheritance for your family. Also, be sure to take independent financial advice before you sign anything.

Equity release schemes like these are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and you will also be protected by a “no negative equity” guarantee. So even if the bottom falls out of the housing market, there should be no risk of your loved ones being left in debt.

tenancy agerement

A Renter’s Guide To Getting Your Bond Back

Securing your deposit: 6 tips for tenants

From cleaning the carpets to weeding the garden, there are a number of steps a landlord expects you to take to help ensure you get your security deposit back.

Renting a home can be an expensive business; before you even move into the house, you’re usually required to pay one month’s rent in advance plus a hefty security deposit. When you move out you are entitled to have this deposit returned to you unless you have damaged the property or caused the landlord to suffer a financial loss – however, in reality, deposits are often a big cause of dispute between tenants and landlords. We’ve put together some hints and tips to help increase your chances of getting your money back at the end of your tenancy.

Go through the inventory

Upon moving into the property you should be given an inventory which details the condition and contents of the property – and if you’re not, be sure to ask for one. Take time to go through the inventory with a fine tooth comb and flag up anything you think is incorrect – for example, if an item is listed as good condition but is actually broken, or if there is an area of damage or disrepair that isn’t included in the inventory. The inventory will be a key piece of evidence in the event of a dispute so it’s important to make sure it’s correct.

Take photographs

As well as going through the inventory, it’s also worth taking photographs when you first move into the property. Take photographs of all the rooms in their original condition and be sure to photograph any areas of damage, or furniture that is in a poor state of repair. As with the inventory, photographs can play an important role in helping to solve any disputes.

Stick to the contract

When you move into the property, take time to read the contract properly and make sure you stick to it. If the contract says you can’t have a pet, or you can’t attach things to the wall, you will need to abide by these rules or risk losing some of your deposit. If you do decide to put up pictures or paint walls, make sure you return the walls to their original state before you move out.

Build a good relationship

While it’s no guarantee of getting your money back, building a good relationship with your landlord from the outset can help increase the chances of settling things amicably if a deposit dispute does arise. Be sure to always pay your rent on time and try not to give your neighbours any reason to complain about you. And if your landlord needs access to the house to carry out repairs or inspections, being helpful and flexible is always appreciated.

Deep clean

Over half of deposit disputes involve insufficient cleaning of the property, so make sure to leave enough time to give the property a deep clean before you move out. While your landlord can’t legally force you to hire professional cleaners, your contract will usually stipulate that you leave the property in the condition in which you moved in, and a failure to do so could result in the loss of all or some of your deposit. As well as the obvious areas, don’t forget to clean your windows, oven, the insides of kitchen cupboards, and clean or paint over any scuff or dirt marks off the walls. Carpets often get stained during a tenancy which can result in deposit deductions. If you can’t get rid of these stains yourself, it may be worth paying out for professional carpet and rug cleaning services to help get the floors back in a decent condition.

Don’t forget the garden

While you’re concentrating on cleaning the house it can be easy to forget the garden. However, if your contract states that you are responsible for the maintenance of the outside area, an unkempt garden could lead to deductions from your deposit. The easiest way to ensure the garden is in a good condition is to keep on top of it throughout your tenancy. A spot of weeding and sweeping here and there will save you having to spend hours clearing it on the last day of your tenancy.
These days, your rental deposit has to be placed in a tenancy deposit protection scheme by the landlord until the end of the tenancy. The scheme offers a free dispute resolution service and, in the event of a dispute, your deposit will be held in the scheme until the issue has been resolved – so, as a tenant you do have some element of protection against unfair charges.

However, if you are a good tenant, stick to your contract and spend some time and effort on the property at the end of the tenancy, you should hopefully get the majority, if not all, of your bond back, leaving you with a heavier wallet and your landlord with a good condition property ready to let to the next set of tenants.

offshore wind power

Support Schemes for Renewable Energy in the UK

If you are planning on an early retirement and frugal living, then you need to look at domestic renewable energy schemes. The cost of oil and gas is likely to continue to rise, which poses a huge financial risk to pensioners. Renewable energy could be the long term answer.

Renewable energy is collected through natural sources such as sunlight, wind and water. Find out about the support schemes for renewables in the UK.

The earth’s natural sources such as sun, wind, tides, waves and geothermal heat can all be used to generate renewable energy. These sources are sustainable and naturally replenished, which means the environment can be saved from harmful carbon emissions.

There a number of renewable energy systems in place for creating and using renewable energy in the UK. These schemes help to encourage technological development and producing energy with much lower costs.

The Renewable Obligation (RO) encourages renewable electricity generation for large scale installations. It requires suppliers to source the majority of their electricity from renewable sources.

The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) is designed to support small scale renewable installations up to 5MW. Through FiTs, generators are paid a tariff for every unit of electricity they produce. Any electricity not used on site can be sold back into the Grid, and generators are paid extra to do this.

New schemes are constantly being developed to support renewables and other low carbon technologies through Electricity Market Reform. A new scheme in the pipeline called Feed in Tariff with a Contract for Difference (CfD) hopes to use this method.

offshore wind power by countryThe UK is well placed to take advantage of wind power as it has some of the best conditions in Europe and high average wind speeds. Onshore and offshore wind farms are an important part of where the UK sources its energy. Treehugger reported in 2013 that the UK generated more off-shore wind power than all other countries combined.

Renewable energy is healthy, safe and most of all a cost-effective feature to have installed in the home, too. To help out the environment, consider having a renewable energy heating system installed which can save you money on your fuel bills. Other options include solar panels and heat pumps.

The possibilities are endless!


How Does Groupage Transport Work?

Low-cost road freight services

Freight groupage services can be an effective way of transporting goods to and from Europe, saving businesses both time and money.

For companies transporting goods to Europe, delivery and transportation costs can be somewhat of a headache, and often form a significant proportion of a business’ outgoings. Dealing with high transport costs can make you less competitive, eating into profits and, in many cases, resulting in higher prices for the end customer.

With this in mind, it’s unsurprising to see that many companies are turning to European groupage transport to help them deliver goods more cheaply and efficiently.

So, what is groupage transport and how does it work?

Consolidating shipments

Simply speaking, groupage transport involves consolidating multiple compatible shipments from a number of companies into one single delivery load.

When delivering goods, freight and haulage companies often have room to spare in the lorry. However, due to the costs they have to cover, these companies would much prefer to fill the vehicle to capacity as it enables them to maximise their profits.

In this situation, groupage transport provides the perfect solution, enabling delivery companies to reduce their carbon emissions, minimise vehicle wear and tear, and save on fuel. These savings are then passed on to you as the customer, reducing delivery costs by up to 60%.

Business benefits

While it offers advantages to many different types of businesses, groupage transport is perhaps most beneficial to companies who deliver small, frequent loads that seldom fill a whole van or lorry.

However, it is not for everyone, and there are certain things you will need to take into consideration to make sure it works for you. For example, in order to benefit from a greater choice of suppliers and more competitive pricing, it helps to be fairly flexible in your delivery requirements. Groupage deliveries can also take longer to arrive at their destination than standard freight, so this is something to bear in mind if you are transporting specialist goods that need to arrive within a specified time frame.

Generally speaking though, groupage can offer a great alternative to standard freight and delivery options, helping you to minimise your environmental impact, and providing an effective, economic method of delivery that lowers costs and offers significant savings for your company.