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Multimodal and Intermodal Shipping: Which One’s Right for Your Business?

When shipping goods overseas, you may come across different types of freight forwarding methods—the multimodal and intermodal shipping. Obtaining the best routing is not the same as hiring a shipping company with the cheapest rate. Using a combination of different forms of carriers is oftentimes better to achieving the best shipping rate. However, keep in mind that it may require more involvement on your part as the shipper of the goods. Alternatively, a single form of transportation for shipment of goods may provide better routing and will likely require lesser paper works and logistics coordination.

When using a freight forwarder for local or international freight, understanding the difference of multimodal and intermodal shipping and communicating your requirements properly will help a lot to avoid misunderstandings and minimize problems along the way. Here, let’s take a look at the differences between multimodal shipping and intermodal shipping.

Multimodal Shipping

Multimodal shipping is defined as the transportation of cargo under a single contract, but is delivered via two or more means of transport. However, the different forms of transport are handled by a carrier that would operate under a single contract. The entire journey of the shipment involves only one carrier who is also often called the multimodal operator. However, this operator does not have its own means of shipping transportation. He or she is only responsible in ensuring that the shipping is successful through the different modes of transport (i.e. sea freight, air freight, local freight).

Multimodal shipping can be set up in several ways. You can go with a cargo transportation in Singapore that can provide all modes of transport. Another way is to hire an agent who will do all the negotiations for you, while you only have one contract to take care of. The said agent will also be the one to handle delays and coordination of loading and unloading of goods.

This method of shipping provides a couple of benefits, with the first being less of a burden for you. If you opt for this shipping method, you have the logistics company who will handle the delays in any of the transport modes. Multimodal shipping is like a one-stop service for you—everything is handled by a single operator, giving you peace of mind and ease of work since you only have one person to call to if you need updates of your shipment from any mode of transport.

Other advantages of multimodal shipping:

a. Efficiency of shipment tracking to monitor status of shipped goods
b. Access to remote areas around the globe with liability of shipment with one carrier
c. Faster delivery time
d. Minimized logistics coordination and expenses

Intermodal Shipping

If multimodal means shipping of goods using different transport modes under one contract, intermodal is shipping of goods through different means handled by different operators, each with its own contracts. While this method calls for more of your involvement as the shipper of the goods, it is said to provide better security since you will be hands-on during the entire journey of the shipment.

When using this method of shipping, each carrier will be handled by a separate agent or logistics company. This means you will be working on different contracts for each carrier of your shipment. You will be the one to handle coordination of carrier delays, as one freight forwarder may not be aware of the delays that the other freight might be having.

One of the best things, however, is that you can negotiate your terms for the freight forwarding services. You are able to customize each contract to fit your needs, especially if shipping cost is a major consideration.

Other advantages of intermodal shipping:

a. You can pick your own carriers to take advantage of lower shipping rates
b. Gain more flexibility in handling the loading and unloading of goods at the ports
c. You have more access to equipment and have better control in selection of transport schedule

Which one is best for you?

Deciding whether to go for multimodal shipping or intermodal shipping greatly depends on the shipper’s requirements, such as your delivery time, the destination of the goods and the shipping costs. When it comes to the logistics of a shipment, multimodal freight forwarding is better in terms of convenience as you do not have to contact every single carrier to monitor the status of your shipment. However, the ease of work would mean that you might have to pay more on the logistics company.

Alternatively, if the shipping’s overall cost is one of your major priority, you are likely able to negotiate prices for the logistics services of intermodal shipping. You can score cheaper rates, but be prepared to allocate more time and effort to personally handle the air freight and sea freight of your goods to ensure they will reach the destination on time. This means you need to handle coordination with one shipping company to the other to make sure that your goods will reach its second transport on time.

In general, these methods of transport are here to provide you with options depending on your needs. Each mode of transport has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Prioritizing your shipping requirements, understanding the shipping process and comparing costs between several freight forwarding companies here in Singapore are all important when deciding which logistics company to work with and choosing the right mode of transportation of your goods.

List of Considerations when Selecting a Marketing Agency

If you’ve decided to hire a creative agency for marketing and publicity materials, know that a proper search doesn’t just happen overnight. It is easy enough to look for the agencies available in Singapore with just a single click on any search engine – but keep in mind that there are factors you need to consider in choosing the ‘right’ one for your business needs.

There are many creative design agency firms in the market. Is it really important to find the perfect fit for your company? The answer is yes. Consider it an investment, as you are paying hundreds to thousands of dollars for their creative design services. You would want to get what you’ve paid for, wouldn’t you?

You will be presented with several options, with some creative design portfolios standing out more than others, but don’t get overwhelmed. Finding the right creative design agency might sound intimidating, but as long as you know the considerations to take into account, you’ll be in the right direction.

In a recent article published by Forbes, the importance of proper marketing in the healthcare field is highlighted. Healthcare marketers hold the responsibility of delivering and creating effective marketing content and other campaigns. Why? Effective healthcare marketing poses the potential to change someone’s life.

Effective and responsible creative design is needed beyond than just the healthcare sector. In the cutthroat business world, it is just equally as important to seek the assistance of a branding consultant to make your brand stand out. What makes your brand different than others? Why should your customers purchase your products than other sellers? Coming up with an effective marketing strategy would help you answer these important questions.

In selecting a branding agency for your business needs, here is a list of considerations you might want to keep in mind:

1. Establish your goals

From healthcare services to product selling, every business endeavor has a different idea of what it requires from a creative agency. For most, it’s all about business growth and the bottom line. Each agency may have varying strategies in achieving these goals, though. For instance, one branding firm may suggest establishing a stronger online presence through coming up with more creative content for your business’ blog, while another branding agency might recommend a complete branding revamp.

It is essential to establish your company’s goals to select an agency which is best-suited to serve your needs.

2. Accessible client portfolio

Before booking a creative agency, ensure that they can provide you access to their previous client portfolio. This allows you to get a glimpse of the work they do, and potentially gain an idea on the creative design they can offer you. It’s better if they have experience working with companies like chun tsubaki agency from Singapore which are a part of your industry in the past. You can always inquire about the results and see if it fits what your company needs.

You can also access the agency’s official website and browse through client testimonials. What’s better than online testimonials? Direct personal testimonies, of course. Better yet, you can also ask for client referrals – and hear a personal account straight from a previous client.

3. Ample experience

With several agencies in Singapore both ready and willing to help you with creative design services, it is encouraged to seek a marketing agency which can offer you an extensive consultation/ effective strategy session. This is a great avenue to raise any inquiries you have and consider the potential approaches possible for your company. It would help to think of this consultation similar to that of a job interview with a prospective applicant.

4. Limited Budget

Let’s face it. Most companies in Singapore only have a limited budget when it comes to marketing and publicity materials. Other companies even opt not to spend a single dollar on marketing, which makes it hard for the business to grow into greater heights. Consider marketing as an investment for your company. Regardless of your allotted budget, you must always find a creative agency which can offer you results truly worth what you’ve paid for.

Several marketing and creative agencies have scalable services – but one trick to sift those worth checking on is to look for transparent billing practices and see if they can provide quotes for your unique business needs.

5. Delivering your Vision

The ‘right’ marketing agency for your business must be committed to make your goals and dreams a reality. The staff must be passionate to help you build your brand, which is important if you’re only starting out in the market, and they must also be experienced in helping you retain your customers. A great creative firm must be able to offer you possible solutions for all your business needs, as well. This includes: effective marketing to every consumer and customizing specific ideas for your respective industry.

Most agencies rely on proven-and-tested business processes, but the best marketing agencies are willing to go the extra mile and experiment – until they figure out what strategy achieves the best results for your company.

6. Open communication lines

Just like in any other industry, communication is key. You would want a creative firm that keeps clients in the loop, instead of having them take days before they can respond to your inquiries. Always ask if you will be kept in direct contact with the employee who spearheads the marketing work on your account. This will give you timely updates on how the campaign is turning out.

Some agencies might not be able to give you the direct contact you need, though, so be sure to familiarize the firm’s policies on communicating with clients during a campaign.

This list is compiled in no particular order.

How to Come Up With a Unique Brand and Logo

Trademark registration does a lot to protect your intellectual property from being used by competitors in Singapore without your knowledge or consent. This allows you to enjoy the full benefits that come with the right to its exclusive use and ownership.

Here are a few other advantages that come with registering for a trademark:

• Brand uniqueness (your goods and services are more distinguished);
• Right to exclusive use; and
• Certified proof of ownership.

As a starting entrepreneur, the best way to protect your brand aside from trademark registration is to make it as unique as possible. Before applying to register TM for your products and services, you should first make sure that you have a brand name and logo in the first place.

What’s In the Brand?

Choosing a brand name before you register at brandmark TM registry in Singapore is the first step to successful marketing. The name not only serves as the extension of the brand, but also reinforces the value of the products and services that fall under this brand.

A few options that you can use for coming up with a brand name are by using the following:

• A name describing your services
• A name describing an image or experience of what you want your products or services to provide for your consumers
• A word taken out of context/completely made up
• Changing a word’s spelling
• Using acronyms and numbers

What you should keep in mind when it comes to choosing a name is what you want your brand to mean and represent. For instance, a business that provides names for companies would have itself have a name that reflects the kind of services that it offers.

As the number of businesses competing to provide the same kinds of goods and services is steadily increasing, the brand name itself must be a walking advertisement – after all, you only have one chance to make a first impression to potential consumers.

There are also certain factors that you need to consider when choosing a brand name, such as:

• The stakes – They can be especially high when investing capital into launching a project despite established competition. How confident are you that your newly-formed brand can compete with established names in the market?
• Confidence in your team’s creativity – Does your team have the creative firepower in order to come up with a brand name you can apply a registered mark for? Will you need to bring in outside help?
• Available time and energy for the project – Will you have enough time or energy to devote for coming up with the brand name?

Another way to help you come up with a name for your brand is by generating a list of names that you can choose from. If you happen to be competing at a local scale, you’ll find that many of the names you thought of have already been taken.

This is true not just in the brand names applied for trademark registration in Singapore, but also in the URL’s that these brands also have in order to advertise the goods and services that fall within these brands.

Testing Your Name

Now that you have a few sample names for your brand, try pronouncing each one of these names out loud. This is especially important when you or a sales representative under your employ will be saying the name of the brand or company over the phone.

Is it difficult to pronounce or spell correctly? If so, you might want to change it to something simpler, as a brand name that’s confusing to both pronounce and spell can be difficult to catch on for potential consumers. A lot of company names today are actually simply acronyms of their old names in order to make it easier for their clients to remember.

Is the name memorable? While a unique name can be approved when applying to register trademark for your brand, a name that’s difficult to pronounce will also end up going over potential clients’ heads.

The Logo

The brand name and the logo are two important parts of the same coin. While the name is what both clients and consumers hear, the logo is what comes to mind when people think of the brand name.

Think of the logo not just as an image, but also as the introduction to the brand’s goods and services. While there’s no one way to come up with an eye-catching logo, there are a lot of ways that your design could go wrong. To avoid them, here are a few tips that you can use to create an eye-catching logo:

• Keep it simple. A simple design is a timeless design, and one that has everything the brand is about and stands for in one look. You can achieve this by keeping your font to a minimum, by using a simple color scheme, and by employing negative space.

A good way to know your design is good is by seeing it in grayscale. If it still functions well despite the lack of color, you know you have a good logo in your hands.

• Think outside the box. Avoid picking names that could prevent your business from moving around or adding to its product line. The name also carries out into the logo, and a name that’s difficult to move with the times will have a logo that also can’t move with the times.

Don’t copy – this will only make potential clients think that the brand is just another knock-off of a more successful one. Be sure to have more than one sample, as your first idea will most likely be your most generic one.

• Learn how to deal with public criticism. People will not always like your brand logo at first, which is important that you grow a thick skin during the initial stages of the launch. A second opinion or a test audience, though not a guarantee will give you the feedback you need, never hurts.

How Can You Save Money Over VOIP Phone Calls?

VoIP technology has become a big money saver for a lot of business in so many ways. Nowadays, big or small enterprises are now able to significantly reduce the costs of their total phone lines. This is because VoIP makes use of the local area network along with the internet in connecting the system to the phones in use. Since the system is quite ubiquitous in nature, businesses can opt to place and move the phones anywhere, even used at residences or at their remote offices all over Singapore.

The flexibility attached to the system gives various options to businesses in order for them to save money. They can customize the system to fit their specific business operations, especially when users are not required to pay extra charges based on long-distance calls and time consumption. Business owners also aren’t obliged to maintain infrastructure dedicated solely for data and phone lines.

With that in mind, a lot of companies are saying goodbye to the traditional and embracing the new state-of-the-art technology onto their business operations. Only a few have remained who still make use of the traditional phone models, since what’s now in demand is the pbx phone system among leading businesses all over the city-state. This makes their operations manageable, particularly to those who have outsourced their personnel abroad.

There are a lot of factors as to how VoIP phone calls can help businesses cut down on their operating costs. With hundreds to thousands of dollars saved, this enables the company to allocate the amount to other urgent ventures.

Reduced maintenance costs

Since VoIP Singapore works differently compared to your traditional telephone systems, you will be surprised to know how you can reduce your maintenance cost when you make the switch. For instance, having an IP PBX telephone system makes you have each voip phone unit as an extension off the general phone system. With that, you can move it anywhere you wish given that it is still connected to the internet.

Even when you are working at home, you can still bring along the phone with you as an extension with all the same features and VoIP phone number saved. You also wouldn’t be required to have service calls in order to move the phones around within the office.

Advanced features

With the competitive businessworld in Singapore, enterprises need to be ahead of the game by being agile and flexible. They need to keep up with what the customers need regularly. With that, they need to implement advanced features like unified communication or video conferencing in order to operate more efficiently. These features are no longer mere luxuries. Over time, they have turned into necessities for businesses of all types.

VoIP Singapore technology has enabled almost every business to incorporate competitive features into their systems. In turn, this has helped in achieving maximum work productivity and efficiency. A hosted pabx or hosted VoIP system enables every user to participate in a conference call even on their mobile phones, which can either be made or received regardless of where the caller is.

Call centers and tech support

Departments such as customer service, sales, and tech support rely extensively on phone calls which makes it imperative for their communication system to be reliable at all times. They also make use of specific VoIP technology features such as call parking, agent queues, and etc. Traditional phone service providers also offer these kind of enhances features, but they were generally more expensive. However, adding these features to your system is now made cost-effective because of cloud VoIP.

VoIP also makes the process much simpler to manage. For one, these add-on features can be individually managed via online dashboards. Call centers benefit most from making the switch to VoIP technology. There are entire communication suites made available for purchase which combines necessary features for customer support, which can be fitting for a pbx phone system.

Low long-distance rates

Even if you are making calls to business partners or customers outside of Singapore, you wouldn’t have to worry too much over your telephone bill. In fact, a VoIP phone system reduces the rates for making long-distance calls in contrast with your traditional phone lines. A good communication system is integral in every enterprise, big or small, and phone charges can easily end up into thousands of dollars every month when running on your traditional telephone.

A hosted pabx or a cloud VoIP system allows businesses to purchase in advance the bulk minutes for calls on generally low prices, while calls in some countries such as Canada may be for free. In addition, when employees make calls to one another, it is often free of charge on a VoIP Singapore system.

No additional phone lines to install

With VoIP technology, your business might never need to install new phone lines which can then significantly reduce operating costs. There are a number of cloud VoIP services which provide equipment to directly hook into your current broadband network. The rates of these services are generally competitive with your traditional business phone plans, thus effectively cutting off costs.

The installation of this system also is notably easy. Installing an IP PBX telephone system may sound intimidating because of the complex tech jargon, but don’t let that fool you. The process actually doesn’t require a tech specialist or someone who has background in VoIP technology. For further information, consult your service provider and find out for yourself.

Switching to VoIP has allowed businesses to save hundreds to thousands of dollars annually. Nowadays when broadband became relatively easy to get as well as cheap, VoIP has an increased appeal to businesses who want to cut down on their costs and use their resources more effectively.

3 Major Rules for Managing Your Contractors

Perhaps, among the most difficult tasks of property management is making sure that you’re business making profit and constantly growing over time. Especially to those owners who do not have enough knowledge about constructions, supervising the process of expansion can be extremely challenging due to great demands of work. However, knowing the basics of managing contractors can be a good start to successfully growing your Singapore business rental.

1. Cover your Grounds with Contracts

It is a very beneficial practice to secure a contract with every contractor you work with, regardless of the cost of the project. The contract should contain a detailed information about the scope of work and, if possible, the materials to be used in the project.

The schedule and payment method should also be included and must be in the form that clearly defines the milestones of the best property management in Singapore contractor before they get paid. For example, an initial deposit of 20% when the contract is signed, 30% after half of the project is completed, another 30% after completion of the work, and the remaining 20% two weeks after the project is done. Other items that should be stated in the contract are the insurance policy, policy for termination of agreement, and lien waiver.

2. Create a Timeline Before the Project Starts

Whether it’s you or your contractor who will create the timeline for the property management project, it’s important to have something that will serve as a guide while the project is going on.

With a timeline, it keeps the contractor accountable to complete the job on the said date. It also ensures that you don’t pay ahead of the completed work. If there’s no timeline to follow, how will you know that the project is 50% completed and the equivalent amount should be paid right at that moment? A timeline allows everybody, including your managing agent, if you work with one, to keep track of the development and finish the project on the expected time.

3. Visit the Site by Surprise

Whether it’s a simple repainting job or a site expansion, visiting your property by surprise while your people are at work is the best way to check on the workers’ performance. Though this doesn’t matter to good workers, if you have a bad one, you’re now giving them a reason to work hard and not slack off from work.

In addition, you should be mindful with those property managers who overbook their schedules and try to manage more than the appropriate number of projects just to make more money. Though many can effectively handle this, some can cause delays and slow down the operations. So, make sure your employees are working in full swing even when you’re not around by randomly dropping by to the site.

If after everything it seems like your contractors, or even your managing agent, do not commit their 100 percent to your project, you always have the option to replace them. Lousy workers are not worth the frustration, knowing that there are plenty of excellent workers out there.