A Lesson in “Auctionese”: Learn to Talk the Talk at Storage Auctions

So you’ve finally saved up enough cash to go to a storage auction. You’re eager to buy your first unit and are planning on doing so no matter what. As you make your way through the crowds at the storage facility, you feel confident that no one is going to outbid you. But wait-do you know who the whale is at this auction? Did you just overhear someone talking about phantom bidding? Is there another new blood to contend to? Better yet… do you even know what any of that means?

If not, hold your horses! If you want to walk the walk, you gotta talk the talk. Over time, the auction scene has become somewhat of a subculture, and as with all good subcultures, the bidders and auctioneers have developed slang and secret codes. Knowing their language is indispensable in being successful.

Look around. Get a feel for the crowd. Listen. Hear what people are saying about the other bidders, about the units, and about the auctioneer. Here are a few phrases to listen for at the next auction that might just save your career.

Caravan auction – a series of site auctions advertised through a common promotional campaign. Caravans are usually led by the same auctioneer, who will lead the “caravan” to different unit facilities throughout the day. Find out if the auction you’re at is part of a caravan-you might have an opportunity to visit more than one facility that day!

“Fair Warning” -if you hear the auctioneer say this, listen up: if you haven’t bid on the unit and would like to-do it now! The auctioneer is about to close the bid, and is alerting you that he/she has given you “fair warning” before doing so.

Jump bid – a bid made of a much higher increment than the previous bid. Usually employed by a serious bidder who wants others to know that they mean business.

Looky-loos – a person who goes to an auction purely to spectate, with no intentions of bidding. Looky-loos can be frustrating to both the auction goers and the auctioneer, as they crowd the space and make it harder for potential bidders to see the units. The amount of looky-loos has increased in current times due to the booming popularity of storage auction reality TV shows.

New blood – a newbie; a person who is new to bidding. Don’t underestimate the new blood, they can be just as fierce as the seasoned pros as they’re trying to prove their worth amongst the other bidders and carve out a place in the business.

Pickin’ bid/phantom bid – a nonexistent bid called by the auctioneer to pique interest in the bidders. Be warned-this tactic is considered improper and in many jurisdictions is illegal.

Quarter/”Gimme a quarter… ” – no, the unit is not selling for 25 cents. The auctioneer may refer to a $25 bid as a quarter. “Gimme two quarters” would obviously mean $50.

Shill/shilling – a type of bid; bidder who is working for the auctioneer to inflate bids. Watch out for this one. Ask around for the inside scoop. Does the auctioneer make a profit off the units sold, or do they get a flat rate salary? Know your crowd, and more importantly, know your auctioneer.

Staged – relating to storage units, this describes a unit that has been tampered with before the day of the auction. Items of interest may have been pulled to the front in order to entice bidders, such as electronics, brand name purses, etc. Look for signs of a staged auction by disrupted spots of dust or an awkward, almost too perfect look to the setup of the locker.

Valuation – estimation of the worth of an item, or a storage unit on whole. After enough auctions and research, valuating will become much easier for you. Valuating is important in deciding what you maximum bid on a unit should be. Obviously, if the bidding goes higher than your valuation, you should step out.

Whale – a seasoned buyer who attends the same auctions very frequently. You’ll probably pin point the whale very quickly, and many people may be talking about them. They are usually tough to outbid if they have their sights set on a unit, and most likely have a lot of cash to burn!

“You’re out!”- a tactic used by the auctioneer after you have been outbid. Auctioneers often interact with buyers this way in order to fuel further bidding.

Are you feeling comfortable yet? Try some of them out, see how they feel! Who knows, you might just impress the other new bloods and the whales alike at your next auction.

For some more fantastic auction speak, as well as some of the phrases from this article, check out “Slang: The Topical Dictionary of Americanisms” By Paul Dickson.

The Strategic Importance of Supply Chain Management (SCM)

1 Introduction:

Logistics supply chain management is one of the most contemporary and challenging concept in today’s business world. Due to increasing global demand of business; transportation, procurement, manufacturing, distribution activities increased tremendously. Now a day, major companies are focusing on SCM to reduce cost and constantly trying to develop new innovative strategy to meet consumer demand to achieve competitive advantage.

2 Definition of Supply Chain Management:

In short, supply chain management means, right product at the right place at the right time at the right measure and at the right quantity. For example, in a supermarket, if the consumer found in a product shelves, there is tag for the product but no product in shelves; what you think? Yes, that is because of poor management of SCM. More precisely, SCM is the management of inbound and outbound logistics process to integrate from procurement, suppliers, manufacturers, warehouse, distributors, transportation, and store in order to meet consumer demands.

3 Why Supply Chain Management is Important?

As global competitions are increasing customer have different choices & needs to satisfy demands. For example, if there are demand for umbrella in rainy season and if you asked supplier to deliver 20,000 umbrellas in summer and expected to receive at the beginning of rainy season; what do think would probably happened?

According to this scenario, say for example, supplier response lately after two weeks, slowly starting procurement and then starting production and supply the goods at the end of rainy season. As a result, in this case the buyer will face tremendous losses.

Let’s just think how can, we change our scenario with an effective strategy: consider the order of umbrella was given at the end of spring to deliver at the end of summer. Supplier response precisely, starting from procurement to distribution utmost efficiently and transported through freight within one week before ending summer. The delivery was on time and arrive within 30th days in summer. The buyer is happy to receive items on time and that allows the buyer to distribute products through distribution channel and, with the right forecasted of demand, buyer captures the market at the right time and making money.

In past manufacturers were known as the drivers of the supply chain as they were scrambling to meet customer demands at rapid pace but now customer is called the driving shots in a long term competitive advantage. To meet the customer demand accordingly, companies are shifting to customer oriented strategy (a bright example would be ‘Dell computer’). Hence, to achieve competitive advantage in the market, it’s necessary to deliver the product at the peak time.

4 Key Drivers of Logistics Supply Chain Management:

From the analysis different journal article, textbook, web research we found the key drivers are differ in according to different perspective, such as Globalisation, Sustainability, Cost-awareness, Customers, Suppliers, Technology and Transportation.

4.1 Globalization:

The external forces (i.e. political, economical, socio-cultural, technological, legal and environmental), local competition, continuous policy and regulations changes, pressure from international brands and all affects to meet the consumer demand in market. Thus, companies are facing huge challenges to meet the requirements globally. Through the product barriers are eliminated, no products are now considering domestic products but due to globalization forces companies tend to change policy and strategy regularly. Besides, with the benefits from globalization now, foreign investor are encouraged to invest in several countries which forces local companies to improve quality of existing products which create huge challenges in procurement, manufacturing, transportation and distribution activities for the companies.

For instance, a company can develop a product in the US, manufacture in China and sell in worldwide, i.e. Apple. This makes a complex and challenging activities for company. Thus, in order to maintain global demand Apple makes strategic choice to build global manufacturing and engineering infrastructure in California, Ireland and Singapore to capture market in US, Europe and Asia. This global strategy from Apple allows the company to take advantages of capturing large market. This strategy, allows Apple to become number ONE innovative company in the world.

4.2 Sustainability:

Creating sustainable chain has a major concern for companies. Constant variable pressure from regulations, geographic in nature, social-economic impact, international policies and principles in general is complex for managing SCM.

For example, green environment (i.e. carbon emission); local government are always imposing regulations which affect on the manufacturer. For instance, production and manufacturing in developed countries like in Europe is huge challenge as because of strict rules and policies of environmental issues compare to underdevelop countries like in Asia. For example, in automobile industry producing vehicles is challenging because of environmental issues in different countries.

4.3 Cost-Awareness:

There are four major decision areas in cost awareness:

4.3.1 a) Location: Convenient feasible location with availability resources including all facilities is the primary step of towards of creating strategic network. However, due to geographical distance and cost, companies often couldn’t able to cope up with customer expectation.

4.3.2 b) Production: Cost fluctuation from production levels are critical issue for strategic decision, such as what product to produce, which plant to allocate and what supplies to get for production.

4.3.3 c) Inventory: Inventory cost varies at different level starting from raw materials to finished goods. Cost is also associated in buffer stock, safety stock or even days of inventory in hands as well as price increases during the periods of inflation affects.

4.3.4 d) Transportation: 30 percent of logistics cost associate with transportation that makes the companies to think about distribution channels about air, ship and road. Air shipment is fast, reliable but expensive while sea shipment is chap but time consuming.

4.4 Customers:

Customers are the most unpredictable variables to determine demand. Frequent changes of demand, new expectation, changing approach of existing product, influential behaviour attitude towards products are all determine to develop a customer-product innovation strategy. For example, Apples starts it business on the bases of computers but after understanding demand of consumer, they launched iPhone, iPad, iPod as means of innovations strategy which satisfy customer but not merely makes the customer delight but introducing facilities like ITunes, music, software application gradually capture the market the whole market.

The example here provides a key learning tool ‘how the company understand its customer to achieve competitive advantage’ which makes us to think what strategy they are following. In Apple strategy most of the iPhone and iPad items (i.e. parts) are outsourcing. More precisely speaking, very few components are created by Apple, hardware is supplied by contract manufacturer and software is supplied by millions of software developer to build various applications for the devices which minimize the cost.

4.5 Suppliers:

Supplier’s motivation is important for quality, cost and delivery expectations of producing product with value as they have greater influential aspect of supplying item. For example, Dell’s direct strategy requires processing orders direct from customer. Dell’s pull strategy to build computers o customer’s specifications and deliver within time. To support this model, Dell asked suppliers to keep inventories within 15 minutes of the manufacturing locations. Virtually all products are made to order. Every two hours, the factory planning system sends out a computerized message to suppliers detailing what parts the plant needs. That means there is almost no inventory of parts or products in the factory and this happen only because of healthy relationship with suppliers.

4.6 Technology:

With the benefit of technology, customer are now becoming more technological oriented focusing on online trading, online shipping, online payment, online information, online virtual chatting, and so on. This technological process has a greater impact on customers and now a day customers are constantly willing to get more information, answers, about their choice, preferences. Dell’s could be an ideal example, how technology impact on business and increase revenue. The success of Dell’s direct sells strategy depends mostly on continuous development of technological aspect as the customer willing to become more connected, assist them to develop cost effective quality product strategy.

4.7 Transportation:

Transport system is the most important economic activity among the components of business logistics systems. Around one third to two thirds of the expenses of enterprises logistics costs are spent on transportation. Beside good transportation is challenging issue to deliver product at right time. Thus, to enable flow of goods from one destination to another and to ensure on time delivery; companies needs to understand the right strategy of supply chain. However, unorganized transportation system, labour force, policies, laws and regulations, uncategorized rooting system is a big hindrance for supply chain solution. If there is suitable transportation network, delivery of the product to the market not ensured supply chain activities will be at risk.

5. Companies Prospective of Strategic Importance of Logistics Supply Chain Management:

5.1 IBM

IBM faces challenges on future supply chain are on cost containment, supply chain visibility, supply chain risk management, customer requirements and globalization. Here cost containment relate to shifting cost of operation rapidly, supply chain visibility includes information and collaboration with external partners where supply chain risk management describe as forecasting customer demands and higher costs, customer requirements influence to identifying customer demands, approach, attitudes towards of product and globalization relates to global issue like geographical distance, cultural barriers, transportation system, feasibility of resources, rules and regulations and so on. Thus, to tackle those issues IBM developed strategy on future supply chain based on “instrumentation”, “interconnectedness” and “intelligence”.

5.1.1 Instrumentation:

Developing RFID (i.e. radio frequency identification) tag, meter, GPS system, tracking reduce the inventory cost and increased visibility. That allows to witness actual fact occurred in supply chain activities. Besides, forecasting of demand becomes much easier as tracking production level and sales level estimated through technology. Again, production, distribution and transportation are controlled and monitored with smart devices to eliminate waste and increasing efficiency. So, with the force of technology IBM creates a sustainable global supply solution by focusing more on customer.

5.1.2 Interconnectedness:

Interconnect with global network i.e. suppliers, manufacturer facilities collaboration with external partners and bodies reduce global issues. Besides, shared decision making with and determine regulatory constitutes from local, regional and international enable to share the risk.

5.1.3 Intelligence:

Effective sophisticated modelling and simulation capabilities allow designing sustainability model, network transportation system, and distribution strategy for IBM. Thus, smarter supply chains allow intelligent modelling to the key driven force.

5.2 Woolworths

Woolworths is an Australian’s largest retailer faces multiple turbulences to find an effective solution of supply chain at the beginning. It faces challenges on sustainability (environmental issues), customer focus, suppliers, transportation system and technology. However, after removing those barriers, it builds strong supply chain strategy not only to meet customer requirements but also expanding business in Australia and New Zealand and to achieve competitive advantage over the market.

The success stories build up with collaborating and strong networking relationship with suppliers, adopting policies, rules and regulations, technology and new innovation (i.e. fresh foods).

The strategy for sustainability point they come up with ‘fresh foods’ and carbon emission. For example, “announcing 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions on project growth levels by 2015, managed 13 percent reduction. This is an estimate saving of about 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide again 25 percent minimum reduction in carbon emissions per square meter for new stores Woolworths has now on average reduces in 25.08 percent carbon emissions per square meter” (Our planet, n.d). Besides, introducing new products in the market like Woolworths Pet Insurance, android application applies sustainability in market.

From supplier driving force, Woolworth’s key strategy is to build strong and committed relationship with suppliers that involves in communication, continuous feedback to ensure quality product for customer.

In customer point of view strategy, they are more customers oriented to provide most enjoyable, quality shopping experience to fulfil the demand at the right time at the right place. For this, they focus on centralized distribution model for all inbound and outbound logistics.

In technological point of view, company adopted new technology with keeping pace of technological advancement. For example: EFTPOS system.

5.3 Procter & Gamble

Proctor & Gamble faces challenges on global alliances, constructive network distribution channel, healthy transportation system, inbound and outbound logistics support. For this, they build a supply chain strategy, first to understand target customer according to their satisfaction and loyalty level and then optimizing supply chain (i.e. ensuring product availability at all time). Side by side, focusing on technology like RFID which increases product visibility for better supply chain management. Besides, maintain strong relationship with retailers like Wall-mart and implementing online web support allow the customer to be connected with customer its build premium foundation for sustainable environment.

6 Conclusion:

Thus, globalization, sustainability, cost-awareness, technology, customer, suppliers, transportation are all related to supply chain activities. Now, opportunities of barriers has been minimized which encourage foreign investors to invest, implement and operation. Side by side, in terms of sustainability; collaborating, adopting policies, rules & regulations, technology, transportation allow to build constructive communicative strong relationship with external partners which could be an ideal solution for sustain in global market. Most importantly, focus on customer is vital to enhance growth and for this choosing right strategy for supply chain is essential to ensure right product at the right time at the right order with right measurement.

After Being Built Who Maintains & Updates Websites

That leads to a critical question that usually goes unnoticed until a few weeks after the site is up and running. After the design and building, the work is not completed and in fact many would say that it is just beginning.

Maintenance & Site Building

A well built website will have a few features designed into it that helps search engines recognize the text, content and graphics of the site. This is to ensure that those surfing the internet can readily find the site when they plug in terms that are relevant. There are a number of ways in which that web designers can optimize the sites that they build, but almost all use a system of fresh and unique content. This is by far one of the cheapest tools for traffic boosting alive today, not to say that it does not need to be coupled with other marketing schemes, but it is one of the most demanding. The reason for the demand is the fact that “unique and fresh” content does not stay new for long. In fact, once a visitor or customer has read it once it becomes old to them; the search engine is much the same way, since it is looking for new information constantly. So, that leaves the question of who maintains content, as well as other upkeep, once the site is built. The answer depends on the terms of the contract between the site owner and web designer. Some agree to include maintenance and marketing for a period of time, while others only build the site.

Having A Web Master

For those that want a more hands off approach to running a website, they need to ensure that they hire a web master. These individuals maintain the daily workings of the website, ensuring that all the pages are validated, codes are correct as well as pages are loading appropriately. Many web designers provide like services, however it generally comes with a monthly fee. Be sure to check with the designer to ensure what they offer and if they will include some maintenance as well.

The Use of Drones in Photography

Drones are being extensively used in the field of photography. It started as a hobby, but recently it has taken a professional turn. A drone is an amazing tool that can help capture breathtaking aerial shots that were unimaginable before. You might have seen stunning aerial shots of landscapes like mountains, rivers, deserts and fields in movies. A helicopter is usually used for filming such images in the movie business and a large crew is present to assist the camera person. However, in real life it is almost impossible to arrange for a helicopter. Even if you have the finances available to you to arrange for a helicopter, you would require a pilot to fly the helicopter so that you can take photos. So, if you want to indulge in aerial photography without having to spend a fortune over it, then drones are your best option.

Drones come in various varieties. You can choose the one most suited to your photography needs quite easily. There are some models that can be bought for less than $100 such as the Blade Nano QX. This model is ideal for beginners and budding photographers who have just started using drones for photography purposes. There is always a possibility that the drone will crash while you are learning to fly it, so it is better to buy a cheaper version first.

Photographers who are well-versed in piloting a drone by themselves can opt to buy more advanced drones that have the capability of carrying a larger camera. Some of the most popular models of drones that are currently being used for commercial photography include the DJI Phantom series. If you are confident about your drone flying skills then you can even go for the Iris by 3D Robotics. These drones may cost you around $800, but they are worth the cost. The quality of photos that you get from these drones is amazing.

There are other drones that come with an attached Go Pro camera such as DJI Phantom 2 but the cost is double of what you will pay for the ones mentioned above. Do keep in mind that better the camera you have on your drone, the higher the quality of pictures and videos you will be able to shoot.

The camera is the most important piece of equipment when you are interested in clicking great shots with the help of your drone. A crucial factor in the selection of the camera is its weight. The best camera in the market at the moment is the GoPro Hero3 Black edition which weighs a mere 73 grams and can give you high quality photos and videos. This camera has built-in Wi-Fi and is compatible with OEM and third party accessories. The accessories that you may want to buy include:

· Transmitter to increase the range of your link.

· Receiver to decrease the noise when you receive the video on the ground.

· Goggles to view the video feeds.

· Anti-gravity motors and specialized remote controls are also a few accessories that will improve your experience with your drone.