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Saturday, 29 December 2012

Work Sucks

Unlike the characters in this movie I love my office and my work. I am sure you do too.

Office Space is a must see for any office worker - we've all met a Lumberg, a Milton and a , Peter ...

Every single day that you see Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston), that’s the worst day of his life. It’s because as a programmer at Initech, every day he is subjected to the annoying quirks of his cubicle neighbors and reminded by eight different bosses of the importance of doing his TPS reports correctly. He’s not alone, his buddies Samir (Ajay Naidu) and Michael Bolton (David Herman) suffer right along side him. To squelch his malaise, Peter sees a hypnotherapist and the session overhauls his outlook. Meanwhile, his boss, Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole), hires a pair of consultants to streamline inefficient procedures, a.k.a. downsize, the company. With his friends’ jobs up on the chopping block, Peter devises a plan to set the three of them up with a healthy severance.
Written and directed by Mike Judge, Office Space is an elaboration of his animated shorts series Milton. Here Milton (Stephen Root) is a peripheral character who works in a cube adjoining Peter’s. Milton’s subplot, much like the series, involves him being repeatedly ignored and subjugated by coworkers and management and Root’s reactions to the constant disregard is priceless. Office Space remains so resoundingly hilarious due to its peripheral characters. Peter’s blue collar neighbor, Lawrence (Diedrich Bader), has only a handful of scenes, but I could recite every silly word by heart. Cole’s monotone Lumberg is unforgettable and John C. McGinley is a hoot as consultant Bob Slydell . Veteran character actor Richard Riehle plays Tom Smykowski, Peter’s lucky coworker and provides a nice contrast to Peter’s frustration. Jennifer Aniston has a flair for the role of Peter’s love interest, the Chotchkie’s waitress Joanna.
Though I’ve never worked as a code monkey in a cube farm like the one depicted in Office Space, Judge captures the drudgery of working-for-a-living perfectly. The aggravation of rush hour traffic, the static shock of doorknobs, the constantly malfunctioning, piece-of-shit printers, and the maddening repetitiveness of office life resonates with audiences. Judge deserves an attaboy for his attention to these and even smaller details. I love that the ineffectual Lumberg and Slydell wear both suspenders and a belt, echoing the needless redundancy of their corporate structure and that Lawrence carries a bottle opener to reinforce the simple rules he lives by.
The only thing that hurts Office Space is the now-dated technology. The 3-1/2″ floppies, the pixelated hourglass, the huge monitors do create a disconnect and I sometimes wonder if there shouldn’t be a standing order to remake Office Space once a decade just to keep the tech fresh. Then I think about the “Jump to Conclusions” mat, the Lumberg nightmare, the printer punishment, and the surprisingly fitting gangsta rap soundtrack. Deep down I know recreating that would be like trying to catch lightning in a bottle or like Milton getting a margarita with NO salt on the glass.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Use Social Media to Share, Listen, Explore and Engage

This Peerindex summary gives you a feel for the topics Irongate blogs and @Irongate_Group tweets about. Why not join us?  If you like visual stuff you'll find us on Pinterest too.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Health and Safety in the Workplace

The serious nature of health and safety requires a factual post which I hope you will find useful. The following has been taken from the web site of our good friends at Wallace Cameron.  

You can find first aid kits available to purchase on-line, with next working day delivery,  by clicking here.

First Aid & The Law (ACOP L74) - United Kingdom

IMPORTANT - Duty of Care

With the recent HSE court cases against employers who breach the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 receiving large fines it is essential to assess your first aid requirements including first aid training and maintain them.

The regulatory document governing the practices surrounding First Aid at Work was updated and issued in March 1997 and is known as the:-
Covering The Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 (second edition 2009)
The document is commonly known as ACOP L74.
This code has been approved by the Health & Safety Commission and gives practical advice on how to comply with the law. Health & Safety Inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance as illustrating good practice.The Regulations are in place and are to be adhered to by all businesses. The relevant and salient regulations are:
Regulation 3(1)

“An employer shall provide, or ensure that there are provided, such equipment and facilities as are adequate and appropriate in the circumstances for enabling first-aid to be rendered to his employees if they are injured or become ill at work”.

ACOP 3(4)
“An employer should make an assessment of first-aid needs appropriate to the circumstances of each workplace”.

ACOP 3(21)
“Employers are responsible for meeting the first-aid needs of their employees working away from the main site, for example those who travel regularly or who work elsewhere. The assessment should determine whether those who travel long distances or are continuously mobile should carry a personal first-aid kit. Organisations with employees who work in remote areas should consider making special arrangements such as issuing personal communicators and providing special training. Where employees work alone, other means of summoning help such as a mobile phone, may be useful to call for assistance in an emergency”.

ACOP 3(37)
“There is no mandatory list of items that should be included in a first-aid container. The decision on what to provide will be influenced by the findings of the first aid needs assessment. As a guide, where work activities involve low hazards, a minimum stock of first aid items might be:" 

 ACOP 3(38)
“The contents of first aid containers should be examined frequently and restocked soon after use. Sufficent supplies should be held in stock on site. Care should be taken to dispose of items safely once they reach their expiry date."

 ACOP 3(39)
“The needs assessment may indicate that there is a need for additional materials and equipment, for example scissors, adhesive tape, disposable aprons and individually wrapped moist wipes. These may be kept in the first aid container if there is room or stored seperatley." 

ACOP 3(40) - Eyewash
“If mains tap water is not readily available for eye irrigation, at least 1 litre of sterile water or sterile normal saline (0.9%) in sealed, disposable containers should be provided. Once the seal has been broken, the containers should not be kept for re-use. The container should not be used after the expiry date”.
ACOP 3(52)
“Where the first aid assessment identifies a need for people to be available for rendering first aid, the employer should ensure that they are provided in sufficient numbers and at appropriate locations to enable first aid to be administered without delay should the occasion arise. Where 50 or more people are employed, at least one such person should be provided unless the assessment justifies otherwise”.

ACOP 3(55)
"When selecting someone to take up the role of a first aider, a number of factors need to be taken into account, including an idividual's:
• Reliability, disposition and communication skills;
• Aptitude and ability to absorb new knowledge and learn new skills;
• Ability to cope with stressful and physically demanding emergency procedure;
• Normal Duties. These should be such that they may be left to go immediately and rapidly to an emergency.

“Where an employer’s assessment of first-aid needs identifies that a first aider is not necessary, the minimum requirement on an employer is to appoint a person to take charge of the first aid arrangements, including looking after the equipment and facilities and calling the emergency services when required. Arrangements should be made for an appointed person to be available to undertake these duties at all times when people are at work”.

ACOP 3 (69)
“To fulfil thier role, appointed persons do not need first aid training, though emergency first aid training courses are available. Therefore, it is important to remember that appointed persons are not first aiders and so should not attempt to give first aid for which they have not been trained. Given this and the remaining possibility of an accident or sudden illness, rather than providing appointed persons, employers may wish to consider providing qualified first aiders."

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

I Don't Believe It!

I don't believe it!
Cyber Monday is the Monday after thanksgiving so it has its origins in the USA, but yesterday morning while getting dressed for work, I was doing a Victor Meldrew at the Television when they felt it necessary to refer to a Professor to ask why Monday 3 December would be a busy on-line shopping day. Arrrgh!  Its the Monday after the last pay day before Christmas!

Anyway - if you trade on-line did you notice a spike in trade? I did.

I noticed at the week end the queues to get on the local retail park were longer than normal .. I wonder why that was?  Hmm .. the pub car park was chocker on Friday night too. Now, I know I am networked with at least 1 professor, so maybe I need to ask him.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

What's Your Earliest Memory of Stationery?

Howard Forton - Blog writer and customer services manager -Irongate

Mine dates back to Christmas morning 1963. I have a reel-to-reel audio tape of the moment I opened a stocking filler and exclaimed, "Look! A pencil with a rubber on the top!  Just like Charlie's! If I make a mistake I can rub it out."  

What's your earliest memory?  Share it with a comment.

Now I help sell them! Did you see what I did with the price?

Customers Don't Get Special Treatment at Christmas!

Really? Well they do at Irongate!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

There are Lies, Flaming Lies and then Statistics?

Friday, 23 November 2012

Seth's Blog

Seth's Blog

The Environment. Who Cares?

We do with these Environmental Initiatives

As a major supplier of business products and services to organisations throughout the UK, Irongate Group is fully aware of the impact we have on the environment and are committed to reducing it. We are ISO 14001:2004 certified and actively pursue a programme of targets and objectives to reduce our own carbon footprint.
·         Our route analysis technology enables us to plot the most efficient delivery routes, leading to optimum efficiency and reduction of mileage and emissions
·         Our delivery boxes are made from recycled materials and whenever possible, bags and envelopes are used for small deliveries
·         We re-use, recover and recycle as much packaging as possible.
We also work closely with our customers to help make their office a greener and more sustainable place to work including:
·         Single source supply – reduced admin, fewer invoices and payments
·         Order consolidation – fewer deliveries
·         On line ordering & proofing – quick, easy and paperless
·         Switch to email invoicing
·         Switch to alternative products with environmental credentials in our ‘Happy Planet’ range
·         Free printer cartridge recycling scheme
·         Convert to digital print on demand – reduces obsolescence and waste
·         Target your marketing – reduced print runs, page counts and waste
·         Document re-engineering to maximise the press sheet and reduce wasted space
ISO 14001:2004 signifies a genuine commitment to environmental matters
How do you and your suppliers demonstrate a commitment to the environment?

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Join a Successful internal Sales team Now

Do you have recent Internal Sales/Telesales experience and want to progress, or are you a highly self-motivated hard working individual who wants to get into the dynamic and challenging world of Telesales?

If so, the Irongate Group needs you! As a multi-million pound office products and furniture supplier we are looking for an Internal Account Manager/Telesales to take over and grow an established territory. 2 hours a day cold calling – the rest of your time will be spent servicing and developing your customers.

Based in Derby we offer a competitive salary and will provide all the relevant training required.

If you think you’re the passionate driving force we need, please request an electronic application form and further details by emailing:

For SMEs' - Social Media is Nothing but a Waste of Time!

Is it Really? 

The World’s Top 20 Social Brands 
Post Source:
If brands won social awards, then National Amusements, Inc., a Viacom company, would own the title of most powerful social business. The index ranking, according to Dachis Group, “Analyzes the effectiveness of strategies and tactics organizations employ to engage the market through social channels.”
I’m surprised by some of the companies on the top 20 list as I haven’t personally seen much from L’Oreal, Nestle or the Discovery Channel, but then again, I’m not tuned in those areas. The rest seem plausible to me.
So why is this important?
The standard answer is that we need to recognize brands that are leading the way in social business. The real answer is that business leaders need better corporate role models. We need organizations who will convey to those leaders that becoming a social business is the smarter path. That the old playbook will not work in the new social age, and that becoming a social business will increase the company’s ability to adapt to market changes and take advantage of new revenue opportunities.
A business that only uses traditional marketing will produce suboptimal results, and will, in time, fade from being a great business – no matter how much of a lead it has now.
That’s something a lot of companies are learning –even today.

Thanks to Best Masters Degrees for visualizing this information. Thanks to Dachis Group for providing the data.

Friday, 16 November 2012

In Out Shake it All About

The Okekokey of Inbound and Outbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is based on the concept of earning the attention of prospects (and others!) making yourself easy to be found and drawing customers to your website by producing content customers, potential customers and others value.  This is where Social media activity comes in; Facebook Pages, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, YouTube and indeed this Blog.

This goes hand in hand with building Social Media Authority in the eyes of Google and visitors. Klout and Peerindex give a relative measure of Social Authority.  Some say getting a high Peerindex rating is nothing more than an Ego driven game and leads to following people who will NEVER EVER become customers.  Is that a problem? Not for Google search it isn't. And not for me as engaging and sharing with a wide universe can only help give me/us greater insight, leading to competitive advantage and a view "outside the box". I guess its a matter of percentages and moving the odds in our favour and away from the competition.

Anyway ... to my point.  Traditional Outbound Marketing involving direct mail, advertising and cold calling is  very different to Inbound Marketing.   Never the twain should meet but in my view there is some cross-over and value in using social media to, errr ... "sell" occasionally. The impact is more immediate, but short term and if over done will irritate and alienate.  You know who you are!

That's my excuse for not using social media to try and sell all the time, we have internal and external sales for that and a Marketing Department to take care of traditional Outbound Marketing.  But perhaps I try to sell a little too much via social media? Please scroll through the blog and let me know.

Maybe I am doing nothing more than recognising and using all the OPPORTUNITIES that social media offers.  In the old days we would have called it Public Relations.


Friday, 2 November 2012

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard
Pinterest lets you organise and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favourite recipes.

Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
Irongate's new but growing Pinterest collection includes boards on;
sharing stuff to help businesses
cats (the most popular images shared via social media are .... cats!)
and more ...  

Pinboards which we hope might enrich your Irongate experience.  If you'd like us to research some other topics and create a Pinboard you'd like to see, please ask Irongate via a comment, tweet or Facebook post.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Peerindex, Klout and Kred Scores Mean Nothing

To some, not us though because ... 

... Officethingy values social and loves to share, so we are pleased to have earned a score that puts us, according to PeerIndex, in the top 1%.  Not bad eh?  But what, in the social media world, could we do better? Please let us know.

Officethingy is Irongate Group's (Peerindex score of 57) humble office supplies web-store.  Our original goal with social media was to explore and share.  Job done, award won, and job ongoing. You can also find Irongate here - its a relatively new board but we like where it takes us! Recommended.

We use Pinterest to discover and share. How about you? 

If we can score 60 - you can too if you engage.  And we did it in house with zero cost, other than a little experimentation, time and INTERACTION (sorry for shouting).  Oh yes and thanks to these people who gave great advice in the early days: ebusiness club.  

Now to get Irongate Group from PeerIndex 57 to PeerIndex 60 .... 

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

What does it take for your business to care about the environment?

ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard, ISO 14001 Certification
A wholesome seasonal slice from the Irongate archives

HoVIS Nottingham was looking to create a goody bag of branded promotional items to give to their staff as a thank you at Christmas and enlisted Irongate’s help. Having presented a number of different sample products and options which we thought would be well received by recipients and which would also complement the HoVIS logo and branding, they decided to go with a cotton shopper bag, an Americano take-away mug, a trolley coin and an Olympic themed 2012 desk calendar. We also arranged for the calendar and bag to be personalised to the 3 different branches of HoVIS – Nottingham, Leicester and Greenford. HoVIS also intended to add several packs of Mr Kipling cakes to each goody bag. Despite being given a tight deadline of just 4 weeks to produce 1,000 of each of the promotional items we delivered into HoVIS well in time for Christmas.  So at 30 October we are ready to satisfy your Christmas 2012 branded promotional needs.

“I can genuinely say that from the start to finish of this project, the level of customer service I received was second to none. Irongate provided me with ideas and samples of products and they because of the tight turnaround time, they kept me up to date at every stage. Plus, they went above and beyond what I had asked originally asked of them by arranging to pack all of the bags with our cakes which saved me and my team a lot of time. I will definitely be promoting Irongate to other departments throughout the Premier Foods Group.”   Site Secretary, HoVis, Nottingham.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Want to save up to 60% on your business mailing costs?

With our IG Mail solution, sending your business letters has never been easier, quicker or more cost-effective. In fact, it can save your business as much as 60% on its current office mail costs.
In a typical business, the majority of posted documents are created in-house, which requires a number of processes all of which incur cost and time, using expensive resource and assets, e.g. people, post rooms, franking machines etc. Additionally, due to the lack of volume, limited discounts are available so higher postage costs are paid. This method can also raise issues around consistency of documentation, presentation and confidentiality.
IG Mail solves all of these problems by enabling your business to create and proof letters online, which are then centrally printed and posted – a much quicker and cost effective process than traditional mail creation and postal methods.
It’s simple; a user in the business uploads their Word document or PDF, along with their database of addresses, chooses their posting date and submits their mailing to us. We then print, insert the documents into an envelope and post the letters direct. You can submit your mailings in any quantity, any time 24/7. There are no set up fees, no software to download, no artwork fees, no contract and you can be up and running in just 2-3 days. It’s that easy and it’s fully secure as documents are encrypted and sent via a secure connection to a highly secure production centre.
Additionally, with all of your mail template files (invoices, payslips, reminders, appointment confirmations, employee communications, newsletters, everyday letters, marketing mail shots and general office mail) stored in your template library, you can control the quality of letters going out the door, whoever they are issued by.

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