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The Forth Bridge or Forth Railway Bridge Business marketing

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

 The Forth Bridge or Forth Railway Bridge Business marketing and associated ideas?  Talking in riddles are we? well not really rather talkingforthrailbridge more about a few thoughts I had whilst visiting the Edinburgh, Lothian and Firth of Forth region over the past few days.

 

We were looking out from South Queensferry over the Firth of Forth admiring the wonderful structure and design that is the Forth Rail Bridge and it made me think how the ups and downs of this bridge that was once described as the eighth wonder of the world reminded me of the trials and tribulations of business marketing, infact for a few seconds I thought I was looking at a graph showing me the peaks and troughs of business marketing!

 

Like the Forth Railway bridge business marketing does have its peaks and troughs or highs and lows.  Through my own personal experience to give you just one small example of where I am coming from over the years I have delivered thousands and thousands of leaflets and on occasions I have delivered a few thousand without getting much feedback what so ever (troughs) and then just as I am starting to despair and feel like forthrailbridge1throwing in the towel suddenly after a  few hundred more leaflets delivered I get a few phone calls and from those maybe four or five new clients arrive (peaks).

 

Anyway enough about business marketing and back to just admiring the eighth wonder of the world that is the forth Rail bridge or Forth Bridge as is its correct title, enjoy my photos and feel free to leave a comment.

 

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Junk Mail and associated rubbish

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Junk Mail and associated rubbish what is all that about I ask myself?  Want and where is the criteria that deems that a perfectly well designed and professionally produced leaflet  should become categorised as Junk Mail.  I have personally designed and delivered my own circulars/leaflets for almost ten years, and on occasions I have had people pushlincoln-leaflet-distribution my flyer back out of the door, even had people come out of their homes ranting, raving and sweaing at me and even on a couple of occasions had them chase after me. 

Some people have signs that read please NO JUNK MAIL, but when does mail become Junk Mail?  All my leaflets advertise my business and the service that we offer and have provided successfully for almost ten years and we certainly do not class ourselves as junk or a junk business!

I suppose a perfectly legitimate well designed piece of marketing material, leaflet, circular, pamphlet or the like could be categorised as Junk Mail if the recipient doesn’t have a need for the service that is on offer. 

The big dilemma that the leaflet distributors have is that they can not read the recipients mind to know who will and who will not respond to their leaflet.  Now if the distributors could read a recipients mind prior to delivering them a leaflet then that would really revolutionise their lives and businesses and cure the Junk Mail dilemma once and for all.

What are your views on Junk Mail? 

Dolly Char Lincoln   Domestic Cleaning Franchise

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1 England V DeadDad 2

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

I was working behind the bar during the World Cup (in fact, the last 2 but that’s irrelevant to the story) and I was quite friendly with the regulars. Especially this one chap, Carl, who this ‘blog’ is based on.

Carl turned up to every Man Utd and England match he could, that was shown at our pub. He used to bring a tobacco tin to every England match. The tin lid was decorated with a St George design and a British Bulldog in the centre. Inside the tin was, of course, Carl’s dad. Carl made a promise to his dad that he would take him to every England match he could. This sounds quite a thoughtful thing to do but….

As the place was getting quite busy and England scored their first goal against the opposition Carl had shouted to me, ‘Double rum for m’ Dad please, Steve?’. So I hurried and plonked a double rum in front of him, took the cash and carried on with my duties… Again a big cheer and …‘Double rum for m’ Dad again please, Steve?’ So I did.

3 goals, then 4 to England then a fifth each with a double rum. Next thing I saw were flames licking the front of one of the tills where Carl is calmly sat staring at his ‘Dad’. I rushed over and asked what the hell is happening. At the same time England scored for the final time and Carl eagerly answered, ‘Nothing mate. Looks like m’ Dad needs another rum.’

I swiftly poured a large rum and passed it over, to my surprise, Carl poured this into the flames, which I saw coming out of the tin, luckily extinguishing the fire that was coming from the tin.

I then discovered that Carl’s Dad’s Ashes were in that tin. When his dad was alive he knocked back a double rum each time England scored. Carl was pouring the spirit into the tin and setting fire to it to evaporate the liquid.

This was Carl’s way of still celebrating ‘The Match’ with his old man.

Is this funny or sick?? Air your views!!!
tin

sexy young domestic cleaning maid

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

I  have recently redesigned some my companies marketing material and on my companies business leaflets I have included a photograph of asexy young domestic cleaning maid sexy young domestic cleaning maid. The photograph covers about 25% of the front side of the leaflet. 

We have already delivered in the region of 16000 of these new business leaflets and I can honestly say that my hit rate per thousand as doubled. Is the reason for this increase the picture of the attractive cleaning maid or is it because all of a sudden people have more disposable income available to them?

My gut feeling is that it is the sexy cleaning maid more than the increase in disposable income, what are your thoughts and have you tried something similar in the past?

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Traditional & Computer Methods of Monitoring and Controlling Building Operations

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Up until just a few years ago the main way of controlling and monitoring building operations whether on a new development, refurbishment, civil engineering or any other project was by recognised paper based systems, in other words manually writing down and documenting everything before and during the project. In recent years a challenge as been made to this old technique with the advent of computer based systems of monitoring and controlling building projects. I will in the following artile explain the in and outs, for and against for both systems. Hopefully we will be able to come to a conclusion as to which if any of these systems gives us the greatest scope and best means of monitoring and recording activities etc.

Paper based systems

Paper based systems are still used very widely throughout the industry and can be exceptionally time consuming in their preparation and use. Method statements are still commonly written by hand; there use is for the explanation of how the activity that is covered by it is going to be carried out and when it will happen. From this Method statement a risk assessment can be produced ascertaining the particular risks involved with the particular activity mentioned and working out what the safest means of doing the job will be. Also COSHH assessments can be added to this portfolio.

The actual programme of events from start to finish is monitored by hand written and drawn bar charts that can be readily found on the site office wall. These are often colour coded for the different trades to make them more user friendly and they are usually up dated daily or weekly by hand. Also the Site Manager will usually write out what are called short-term programmes that cover smaller sections of the project to enable him/her to keep a better eye on the progress of the project and enable better monitoring on a day-to-day basis.

Other types of forms regularly used in site monitoring are Day work record sheets, Daily allocation sheets, Quality assurance check sheet, weekly plant return sheets, and Site instruction sheets to give a few examples. Day work sheets are filled in by hand to monitor and record extra work that is been done on site by tradesman, which is not covered, by their usual price work etc. Quality assurance sheets are used to basically keep a check on standards and quality been achieved during and at the end of the operations. These sheets usually have the items, things requiring checking, a column for the person whom carries out the check to place his/her name against the item checked a column for the date the item was checked and a further column for any comments he/she may wish to make. Weekly plant returns sheets are used to document where the plant was hired from, what the actual item of plant was, and the order number the hire rate etc. Site instruction sheets are used to basically give written confirmation of verbal instructions to give confirmation of variations to the contract, these require a signature from the client’s architect or nominated person before the instruction can be carried out.

All these different activities take hours and hours of the site managers and assistant’s time if he/she is fortunate enough to possess one. Also there is far more than mentioned above that needs manually documenting for instance a good site manager will keep a record of daily events in his diary, deliveries will be documented on paper quoting the order numbers, the delivery note number to cross reference and keep a check on stock been delivered etc etc.

All this paperwork requires storing somewhere this is usually done by filling up one after another of lever arch files. There needs to be obviously separate files for each different type of form to make it easier to find a particular piece of information in the future if required to do so.

Computer systems

Computer based systems of monitoring work are now becoming much more commonly used within the construction industry. One well-known package is Microsoft project, although there is many more on the market to chose from. Because Microsoft project is the one that I am most familiar with it will be the one that I am referring to in the following few paragraphs as I describe what can be achieved through using this software.

Computer based systems can take the place of and be used for many of the traditional paper based methods of control and monitoring. Microsoft project can be used for planning the operation from start to finish. A bar chart can be created for monitoring the progress of the work and also it can be updated very quickly and effectively. Print outs of the updated chart can be created more or less in an instance to replace previous ones. As well as the different work tasks different forms of information can also be inputted for example plant, labour, materials, costs etc, also values can be attached, so running totals of how the project is functioning against planned expenditure and costs can quickly be assessed. Also the package allows you to break down the project into smaller areas just like short-term programmes in the paper-based system. Critical path analysis can also be created using the software so the critical path of the project can quickly be checked and monitored.

Method Statements, Risk Assessments and other forms of documentation can be readily created using word-processing on a computer. Different forms can be created and saved as templates so they can be used over and over again. A lot of items like method statements if saved can be altered with a very minimal effort to suit new projects in the future when the time arises. With computer systems though a back up of all the work is always strongly advised just in case the system crashes. If work isn’t backed up on disc or a copy sent to another computer then a system crash can be disastrous.

Conclusion

The conclusion that I have drawn up whilst examining both systems, firstly the paper based system of monitoring projects and secondly the computer based system is as follows: - I strongly believe that a computer based system is a more efficient and effective because the project can be monitored and altered much more easily by the touch of a button, and it can even be carried with you around the site by means of a lap top computer if necessary. This could also benefit members of the different trades by discussing with them and showing them up to the minute details of how their particular activity is effecting the over all site project. Also if the computer system is net worked then your head office can also monitor the activities and view how the project is progressing, failing this the daily up dated chart could soon be e-mailed through as an attachment. Once familiar with the computer system I believe the site manager would find that he had much more time at his disposal. Also the production of method statements and other forms such as checklists etc can be produced very quickly and efficiently especially once a template is produced for the particular item. Even letters can be quickly produced and printed off. Even a computer database could be used for monitoring deliveries, members of staff etc. Another big benefit as I see it of a computer based system is the potential saving of space in the site office which could be made through not having to have all the documentation stored in lever arched files as is common at present.

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Resource levelling within Critical Path Analysis (CPA)

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Resource levelling is a benefit of CPA in that you find the sequence of jobs that are critical to the continuity and completion of the job on time. For example you cannot start your roof construction until your walls are built.

 

Certain jobs take certain time spans and you cannot start the next stage of construction until each critical stage is complete. You can although plan the none critical jobs around the critical ones allowing complete utilization of the workforce and hence keep all the staff busy working towards the final goal!

 

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Producing method statements

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

The way to go about producing method statements in house developments are as follows. Firstly study the plan of the development and how you would go about doing the work, where you would start and in what sequence it would be most appropriate for each and every activity to be done.

Next look at the individual plan of the house type and study the structure and the way that you think would be the best way of doing the construction work to achieve the standards and quality that you would wish to achieve.

Finally consult the bill of quantities to ascertain the different types of styles and techniques that have been priced for within it i.e. :- traditional roof as apposed to a trussed roof.

When you have gathered all the relevant information that you require you can then set about producing your method statements in the appropriate sequence for constructing an individual dwelling, you will need to use the information that is on hand including quantities which you have found from within the bill of quantities and also your past experience within house building, time taken for individual tasks, size of gangs, plant required etc.

I would also recommend that you split the statements into seven sub sections to cover the various different stages of the construction, site establishment, sub-structure, superstructure, roof, internal, decoration and external works. Each individual sub section includes the relevant tasks to complete that section of the work.

The completed statements will be able to be used for the same house types throughout your development.

 

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