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The Pros and Cons of Goods Logistics

Moving products from the markets and goods business to shops and consumers has been as essential part of any goods enterprise for hundreds of years. Great nations and empires have come and gone, but the methods of moving products from their origin to the different distributors has hardly changed, however, the recent changes in, transportation and communication has made it possible to deliver products faster, safer, and more convenient. While most products are still essentially moved through the same channels, by air, land and sea, there are important differences when it comes to business logistics that every entrepreneur in Singapore should be aware of.

Pros and Cons of Land Freight

Land or road freight, the services that usually comprise local freight, can either be through road transport or rail transport. But wait, why would Singapore businessmen need these two? That’s because product logistics does not only mean local freight from local supplier to the shops, but it is only a part of the freight forwarding process that sometimes involves all three methods, land, sea and air freight, when it comes to importation and exportation.

Road transport is used to transport goods from distributors to customers or from retail to distributors, especially perishable goods. Rail transport on the other hand is commonly used for long transits across Asia and Europe, carrying a variety of goods. Your Singapore freight forwarder will arrange the mode of transportation with a logistics company with the best type of freight forwarding services or a combination of different transportation modes (called multimodal) to get from one point to the next.

Road freight is quick, cost-effective, can be tracked easily especially for local freight, and may be used for door-to-door transport. However, the cargo size is limited, the travel is slow and expensive over long distances, and may be affected by the road and weather conditions. The rail freight can carry more cargo, is cheaper for long distances, is transit-sensitive, and is more environment-friendly than trucks.

However, this is expensive, prone to delays, and not ideal for short distances. Land freight is considered generally to be the slowest freight forwarding services, but it has more access to local areas, less susceptible to environmental factors during travel, and can easily adjust to changes in routes on a short notice.

Pros and Cons of Sea/Ocean Freight

When it comes to international freight, companies in Singapore can rely on the consistency of the sea freight, because it’s the most commonly used transportation method by the freight forwarding company for distant suppliers or distributors. Sea freight is cheaper than air freight, but this is only an advantage when you can maximize the containers that are charged by the weight.

Companies with only fewer goods to transport often have to negotiate with a logistics company to share a container with another company, but a freight forwarder can easily do this for you instead of relying on an individual freight broker. This also means that large and heavy shipments and heavy and bulky products can benefit more from ocean or sea freight, although you still have to consider additional charges in the area of destination.

However, sea or ocean freight is slower than air freight when transporting goods, because the products will usually take a month or more to arrive, whereas the air freight can take two days or less to deliver the goods. Sea freight therefore is not ideal for perishable and time-sensitive products, and the sender must always prepare for the length of time it requires to get to the destination.

The shipping company that will handle the freight forwarding services will also have to take note of the trade lane that ocean carriers observe and the possibility of disruptions due to bad weather. There is always a risk of damage to the goods as well due to the longer waiting time at the ports.

Pros and Cons of Air Freight

Air freight is the best choice of the shipping company in Singapore if they need to transport goods over long distances. International freight is more complicated than local freight especially when negotiating with the logistics services company, but air freight usually addresses the problems with sensitive and perishable goods that have short lead times, are in high demand, have short supply in the area, and are fragile. If you choose to partner with a freight forwarder in Singapore like to transport your goods locally or overseas, they will be the one to bear the burden of determining whether the bulk and value ratio will affect the price and fees of transportation—no hassle for you.

Why is this important? That’s because air freight is subject to a lot of customs restrictions and excise restrictions in different countries. It is also expensive and might not be worth the price if the bulk and value of the goods are cheaper than the cost to transport them, and the method is prone to flight delays and cancellations if there are security threats, safety issues, and weather disturbances. There are also size limitations to the goods because there are size and weight limitations that must be observed.

However, air freight is very useful for fast deliveries because goods can arrive at their destination within 48 hours or less, high-demand products can easily be supplied if there is a shortage, delays in delivery are rare, shipping variety is flexible, the lead time of the suppliers are reduced, and the freight forwarding services is higher because the goods do not suffer shipping damage. A lot of logistics company also prefer this method when it comes to long-distance transportation because it reduces potential obstacles and accidents more common in land and sea freight.

How Estate Management Can Help Improve Your Business

For entrepreneurs in Singapore who own residential complexes such as apartments, hiring a condo manager might seem like an added expense, but there are a lot of tasks which a property management expert can do for you.

Let’s look at the benefits of hiring a managing agent for your business and other properties.

Advertising and Promotion

To have shorter vacancy cycles, the property management team can help you advertise and promote your properties through the following: improvement and preparation of the property for rent, determining the best rental rate that is attractive to tenants but will also be a good deal for the landlord, and negotiation of advertising rates for your property.

Rental Collection

To have shorter vacancy cycles, your property manager can help you advertise and promote your properties by doing the following: improving and preparing the property for rent, determining the best rental rate that is attractive to tenants but will also be a good deal for the landlord, and negotiation of advertising rates for your property. When looking into the maintenance works of your property, look for the best property management in Singapore to ensure superior quality works.

Tenant Screening

Tenant screening can be a stressful process especially if you do not have training and experience when it comes to real estate. You will need to check the applicant’s credit history, rental history, public records, criminal records, employment verifications, recommendations and references, and other related information. The problem with the screening process is that some of the documents can be easily faked if you do not know what to look for.

However, you can avoid problematic tenants with the help of a property management firm in Singapore who has a reliable screening process for tenant selection. The condo manager will make sure that the applicants can pay the rent for a long-term contract and pay the monthly fees on time, the tenant will cause few problems with neighbors, and will take care of the unit and the property. An experienced managing agent in Singapore can easily see through the red flags in the applications, making sure you can avoid scams and bad tenants.

Better Staff Hiring

The managing agent sent by the property management company in Singapore will also be able to help you hire staff to maintain your properties. They will act a supervisor for the other employees, manage the budget to make sure that the building will operate within the budget you have set, and to maintain all the important records. You can delegate the task of hiring, managing, and firing employees, as well as setting the salary of your employees to the managing agent if you do not have time to do these on your own.

Better Rental Agreements

If an expert is handling estate maintenance for you, then you are assured that you are getting the best deals every time. This means that a condo manager can help you with long-term rentals because they can create better retention policies that will benefit both the landlord and its tenants. This expertise requires knowledge about effective property management and experience in dealing with different tenants.

If you can keep your tenants happy, then they are most likely to stay longer in your apartment, resulting in less expenses for campaigning and advertising to get more tenants. Plus, the good tenant screening process will ensure that you will have shorter periods of vacancy because they will determine the optimal rent rate based on information about similar rental units and the real estate market.

Point of Contact for Tenants

Although your condo manager will act as your liaison with your tenants and contractors, it does not mean he/she will act as a house-sitter. The property management team is responsible for ensuring that the daily operations in your properties are performed, for responding during emergencies, ensuring that someone is available as a point of contact for tenants and vendors, making sure that your properties and its systems are performing efficiently, and to act as your informer to make sure you are updated about how to make the most out of your investment.

If you have other business ventures, it will not be possible for you to attend to tenant concerns 24/7, that is why managing agent can hire staff to address such concerns, or he/she can inspect the property himself/herself on your behalf.

Maintenance and Repair Schedule

To maintain the value of your property, it is important to ensure that regular checks are carried out. Your condo estate manager can help ease off the stress of determining whether the property will need maintenance and repair. This will reduce the cost of major repairs because minor problems can be addressed as soon as possible. The condo manager can arrange a deal with contractors after reporting to you that there are important renovations and repair projects that need to be done. A well-maintained apartment will cost less for operations and maintenance if it can keep its scheduled servicing.

Legal Issues Assistance

Not all landowners are experienced with taxes and legal issues, which is why hiring a managing agent to help with estate maintenance is a good move to protect your investment. You can consult the property management team for any legal and financial issues, because they are experts in legal obligations, taxation, and real estate. There are cases where one problem tenant has caused the landlord a lot of headache because the latter did not have enough knowledge about lease contracts, termination of leases, security deposits, rental collection, taxes, and other issues.

What Can PBX and VoIP System Do for Your Company?

With the rapid advances in technology and communications in the past two decades, it is now possible to connect to any employee, client, and customer outside Singapore through VoIP or using hosted PABX. But what does a new system have that traditional telephony cannot offer to the company, even if the latter has been tried and tested for many years even before the Internet became available for a lot of people?

To answer that question, we need to answer ten important questions about VoIP.

1. What are Traditional and Digital Telephony?

The first telephones used the pulses that were sent down the line to indicate the numbers and send voice and signal connections. This was called the plain old telephone service (POTS) that also served offices for years through national phone networks. Later, new features such as caller ID, speed calling, and call waiting were included for the benefit of large businesses; and instead of the pulses, the phones used tones to route calls. These were further developed with the use of transistors, digital memory, and microchips for digital telephony.

2. What is PBX?

The communication system referred to above uses trunks to connect the central office switch and the company’s telephone system. Unlike in today’s VoIP Singapore, there is an internal phone system as well as a connection outside the company, so that employees, clients, and customers can call in or out. This system is called the PBX or private branch exchange system, which links both the trunk and the branches. The trunk is the connection of the company’s telephone system to a service provider, which is possible through analog, digital, and SIP. For large companies in Singapore, there is no need to buy separate lines for each phone, and this allows for a cost-effective Singapore voip communications system.

3. What is VoIP and its Benefits?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, which is a system that places data into packets complete with instructions where to send the message. Unlike digital telephony, VoIP has no fixed connection because data networks are shared. Large files or messages can be broken down into smaller packets and don’t have to be received in real time, unlike traditional telephony. This is how VoIP Singapore makes it possible to send voice, video, and other files, and to make long-distance and international calls for a cheaper price.

4. What is Hosted PBX?

Some companies prefer to hire a third-party provider for their VoIP in a system called hosted PBX, because they don’t have to spend money to set up their own equipment. In hosted PABX, hosted means that the hardware and the PBX are provided in an off-site location by another company. This is beneficial to companies who want to enjoy the benefits of a PBX phone system, but do not have the capital expenditure or IT experts to set up, install, operate, and troubleshoot the equipment. You could also arrange for a setup to host your own company’s VoIP, but the PBX is hosted by the provider’s data center.

5. What is Hosted VoIP?

Hosted VoIP system is just another name for hosted PBX. If your company doesn’t have the resources to replace and upgrade the hardware and software, you can hire a third-party provider regardless of the type of VoIP service you have; whether it’s cloud VoIP or an IP PBX telephone system. This setup is especially beneficial to small and medium-scale enterprises that are still planning to expand in the future, because it’s easy to upgrade.

6. What is On-Site PBX?

On-site PBX phone system is the opposite of hosted PBX, in which the company creates its own private PBX by installing all the needed hardware and software. This is ideal for companies that want to have secure connections, like private cloud VoIP instead of using the public cloud for data storage. An on-site PBX phone system, however, has a lot of disadvantages, especially if the company is not willing to spend extra money for training personnel, hire IT staff, and install, upgrade, replace, and troubleshoot hardware and software. Some IT experts prefer the hybrid type where the company hosts some of its PBX and then hires a third-party provider for the others.

7. What is SIP?

SIP stands for session initiation protocol, or a better form of signaling than the one used in analog and digital telephony. With SIP, it’s possible to do more than just voice calls. Most SIP phones, sometimes referred to as IP phones, can work on different systems, unlike the digital phones. IP phones, which are necessary for most VoIP services, are connected to both the telephone control unit and the data network. Some digital phones still need a lot of equipment to support IP, but more phones are now IP-based.

8. What is IP PBX Phone System?

An IP PBX telephone system in VoIP Singapore has all the benefits of a traditional PBX phone system, such as; automatic call distribution, automated call answers, automated greetings, custom music for calls on hold, voice message recording, internal calls between stations, and one phone number for the company. IP PBX telephone system has additional benefits, however, because it is scalable, easier to manage, and has several enhanced features. It’s ideal for companies of any size, because it’s also easy to upgrade.

9. What is Cloud VoIP?

Cloud VoIP in hosted PABX uses a third-party provider that offers advanced features such as conference bridges, extension dialing, and auto attendants. This is usually recommended for small and medium-sized companies in Singapore that cannot have their own IT department or the budget for the necessary equipment.

10. What are Private Cloud and Hybrid?

Some companies have their own phone system, but prefer to have their server hosted off-site; while others have sites with dedicated servers in one location, although some of the technology is hosted in another location. The former is what is known as private cloud, while the latter is called hybrid.

Things to Consider Before Registering Your Trademark

A registered mark is a necessity for any business enterprise. Why? Because after a business has successfully register trademark, the company then becomes the sole owner of the trademark or brand name, and brand ownership comes with perks such as gaining the statutory right to exclusively use the mark whichever way they deem fit.
Trademark registration also enables a business to legally prevent others from copying the trademark. Furthermore, your company will benefit from the mark’s increasing market value (granted the goods and services you offer are of good quality, garnering a good reputation among customers). After all, what person wouldn’t want to patronize a brand which provides nothing but quality assurance?

Should you register your trademark?
It is encouraged for any start-up business to register their trademark as soon as possible. Not only does it legally protect your brand, but the validity period of a registered mark also lasts up to ten years. After the first ten years, it can still be renewed indefinitely (every 10 years at a time) through paying the renewal fee.
Under the Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme, the Singapore government also offers up to 400% tax rebates if you register TM. The assistance is designed to help you offset the costs of trademark registration.

Identifying a trademark
Trademarks are commonly used outside Singapore and across the globe. It is relatively easy to spot a trademark –you just have to look for two common symbols, ® and TM.
The usage of these two symbols are not the same: The ® symbol is used to protect and register trademark, which is pursuant to trademark laws; while TM only indicates that the mark is used as a trademark by the owner, but may not necessarily have been legally registered with a Singapore trademark registration company or under the scope of respective trademark laws.

5 advices to keep in mind

Trademark registration is no piece of cake to deal with, but here are advices to keep in mind when dealing with trademarks in business:

    1. Protect your brand in a respectful manner

    It’s great to protect your brand zealously, just make sure you act with respect, specifically with regards to the law. Intellectual property is important – but so is the mutual exchange of politeness and respect. In the cutthroat business world where companies compete constantly, it is easy to get swayed in the heat of it all and let your temper run wild over a minor misunderstanding.

    You might have accusations of another company stealing or copying your trademark, but don’t just head over their office and lash out. Don’t let your gut feeling do the talking. Deal with the matter in a professional way by gathering evidences and other proof before, and then get a legal counsel before taking any actions.

    Who knows, it might just be a case of an honest mistake. Sometimes, companies don’t realize they are infringing on a trademark until a third party points it out. In that case, construct a polite, informative letter and tell the other party to cease all the usage of the trademark.

    2. Treat your trademark like an investment

    Just like any other investment, treat your trademark well. You must cautiously monitor your trademark and the brand it upholds before you can enjoy recognition among a growing number of customers.

    Maintaining a good reputation means your brand is viewed as trustworthy and reliable by the masses. This might prompt more avid customers, especially if you keep up with good and proper branding. Don’t be afraid to be ambitious! Act as though your trademark will gain recognition across the globe soon – because if you don’t, it never will.

    3. Choose your trademark wisely

    You can’t trademark everything you think is best for your company. If you are indecisive or bad at making big decisions like this one, consult help from other business owners or members of your company. Be open for suggestions before you finally come up with the ‘right’ trademark.

    Keep in mind that trademark registration has no immediate edit button. Even if your business hasn’t done any promotional or marketing activity yet, changing your brand name isn’t as easy as replacing the sign on your main office. You need to provide legal reasons and pay hefty legal fees, among others.

    Generic brand names, those composed of commonly used phrases and words, are often prone to copyright infringement lawsuits. To prevent this from happening to your business enterprise, design a distinct yet classy trademark. Take all the time you need in brainstorming. As the adage goes, it’s better to go ‘slowly but surely’.

    4. Be a forward-thinker

    If used and protected properly, your trademark rights may last until the end of time. The impact of this concept is crucial to understand considering the number of global brands which became a shared vocabulary across the globe. Think of Apple’s ‘iPhone’, or Nike’s swoosh/check logo.

    As an ambitious business owner, you might plan on venturing onto the global stage and open store branches abroad. To continuously secure your trademark rights, research about the country you plan to operate in and secure protection in their local trademark laws immediately.

    5. Don’t take it personally

    Should you receive a copyright infringement lawsuit, don’t let your temper dictate your decisions and approach the matter with a cool mind instead. No good will come out of physically attacking whoever sent the letter. If anything, you will only be charged with more legal complaints.

    The first thing to do is to contact a lawyer for legal assistance and start a dialogue with the other party. Be civil. This is pivotal in reaching an equitable solution in the end.