3 Great Health Tips to Prepare for Pregnancy

Before you decide to conceive it’s an excellent idea to prepare for pregnancy. If you’re looking for health tips to prepare for pregnancy this article is for you. How can you be prepared? What’s your best plan for a healthy and successful pregnancy?

Preparing one or two years ahead of time for both male and female is a great start. It’s important to identify strengths and weaknesses in your health. You may feel pretty OK health-wise but if you’re not a parent and you want to be – you have no idea what’s coming your way. Several months or even years of sleepless nights are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s best to be prepared. A health care provider who has experience can make the best plans to support your health. An Ob/Gyn (Obstetrician Gynecologist) is a great start especially for women’s health. In addition an acupuncturist also trained in herbal medicine who has experience with fertility can be highly supportive, especially in the early stages before conception where conventional medicine falls short.

You’re making very important plans to bring a new life into the world. Pregnancy is a major challenge on Mom’s health so it’s best to be preventive instead of reactionary. Often times I get infertility cases that are unexplained by conventional medicine but under a Traditional Chinese medical diagnosis and the therapeutic practice of acupuncture many imbalances can be identified and treated. Success always depends on how deep the imbalance has taken hold and early intervention.

Planning ahead of time means contacting a health professional who understands how to optimize health and support fertility through all stages of care – before conception, and pre- and postnatal meaning before birth through pregnancy and after your child is born.

After your child is born, support of Mom and baby continues particularly by supporting Mom’s health through nursing. Let’s not forget Dad. Optimizing health prior to conception also ensures healthy sperm and maximizes Dad’s health. Support for Mom through pregnancy and the fathering of a family that follows is another important piece of the complex health puzzle.

Anything new presents additional levels of stress that can challenge health and needs to be supported. There will be lots of sleepless nights in the coming years and a healthy body does better going into pregnancy and parenthood than a body already compromised health-wise before conception. Making sure your diet is optimized for your health is important to ensure you’re getting the right nutrition. What is commonly accepted as the right nutrition is not necessarily what you need to support your health concerns. Consider a diet and nutritional consult to discover any imbalances. Put yourself on the path to optimal health the natural way. It just makes good sense.

Here are 3 tips to practice before conceiving for both men and women.

  1. Address untreated health issues – Any health issues not being cared for or not treated needs to be looked into such as anxiety, depression, poor digestion, migraines, diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, low energy and more. Learn how your current health issues could affect pregnancy. Consider a consult and evaluation. Talk to a health professional. See if you can optimize your health ahead of time instead of going into conception blind.
  2. Optimize Sleep – if you have poor sleeping habits this is an area of great concern for your health over the years and needs to be addressed. Your body repairs, rejuvenates and restores itself during sleep. Make your bedroom a dark, quiet place of peace and relaxation. Avoid watching TV in bed. Maintain a regular sleep schedule going to bed and waking at the same times. Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night – your body will tell you if you need more or less. If you wake feeling tired or you tend to have low energy patterns, improving your sleep is important. If you struggle with sleep problems acupuncture and a diet or supplement consult is definitely a natural therapy to consider.
  3. Optimize Diet – there is a “general healthy diet” for everyone to follow and there are specific diets for individuals to maintain and restore balance in health. A diet consult can help you. In general sugar and carbs are a big problem in our society leading to weight gain. Sugar and carbs that break down into sugar in abundance can unbalance the endocrine system responsible for hormone production. The endocrine system includes the following glands: pituitary, pineal, thyroid, thymus, pancreas, testicles, and ovaries. This system can be a major source of health problems when out of balance and not supported properly. In addition, it is necessary to make sure you are making health fat choices. Fat is an essential nutrient and a precursor for hormone production. Bad fats are hydrogenated oils, trans-fats, and fats that have turned rancid – think of the good fats in nuts but let them hang around too long and they can turn rancid. Think about oils that have been overcooked by deep frying for example. The high heat destroys the fat and now is considered a bad fat. Another bad choice would be processed and denatured foods. I would not call these real foods. Real foods good bad fairly quickly. Processed foods can sit on selves for long periods of time because they are loaded with chemicals and preservatives – not good.

Imbalances and poor practices in the fundamentals of diet, sleep, exercise and stress management can create all sorts of signs and symptoms and leave you with lots of health problems. I call this symptom-chasing. You end up chasing treatments for signs and symptoms without good results because the fundamentals are not supportive to your health and are just plain messed-up. Maintaining health through maximizing healthy practices in the fundamentals of diet, sleep, exercise, stress management help you stay focused on your true health needs for optimal health, the natural way.

Remember, what you learn now for best practices in health and well-being is what you’ll pass along to your children.

So before deciding to have children make the best plan possible for both Mom and Dad. Consider contacting a holistic health professional to evaluate your health. You’ll be amazed to discover all natural ways to optimize your health for your best pregnancy ever. The only side effect is getting healthier along the way.

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Dubai in 3 Days: A Showcase of the Best the World Has to Offer

If you thought that Dubai is good only as a shopping destination, then think again. Dubai today looks quite close to your fantasies of Heaven on Earth. Be sure to see the best of architecture, the latest state-of the-art facilities, the best hygiene and sanitation, the best deals in the market, the friendliest people, and the safest travel destination.

When time is short, and you wish to cover the city and its adjoining areas of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ajman all in three days flat, do not think that you are thinking the impossible, even in the harshest of the summers. Be sure though, to always carry your must-haves: sunglasses, sunscreen, water and a sun hat or scarf, should you be travelling in the months of May to August.

Dubai is often scorned by the ignorant and uninitiated as a place boasting only of malls. However, when you set out to actually see these malls, they come across each as different as different can be. A good place to start with would be Kanat-al-Kasbah, located in Sharjah. This comprises continental style promenade, reminiscent of a walk down the promenade along the River Seine in Paris. Alongside, one comes across several eateries and glamorous shops. In the weekends, which happens to be Thursday nights to Saturday, one can see families leisurely dining in the several eateries, which have open-to-air options. Children of all ages can be found here, skating, playing, getting soaked in the fountains, eating icecream, etc., while their parents enjoy a little bit of adult company themselves. At night, this place literally comes alive, with interesting lighting effects, which bring out the best of the architecture of the place.Boat rides along this canal are very popular too. Kanat-al-Kasbah has now metamorphosized into a commercial and cultural hub, and is often referred to as “The Eye of the Gulf”.

Very near the Dubai International Airport, is the famous Ibn Batuta Mall, which is modelled along the lines of the famous traveller of the middle ages, Ibn Batuta and his explorations. Hence, this mall is both exciting and educative. Each section of this lovely and fascinating mall follows the travel route undertaken by Ibn Batuta, and hence, the shopper gets a feel of various cultures and countries, as he shops. The food courts offer a wide variety of lip smacking food: Iranian, Lebanese, Greek, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Mexican, etc. Interestingly, the ceiling of the mall assumes the colours of dusk, even though a fierce mid day sun may be beating on the outside of it. The Ibn Batuta Mall is guaranteed to make you think about it, long after your trip to Dubai is over…it simply falls into the category of a “Must-See”

Another famous mall is the Mercato Shopping Mall in Jumeirah, which is inspired by Italian Renaissance period architecture. In this covered mall, one can immediately be transported to the laid back Italian lifestyle, with shopping squares, cafes, and restaurants. Artistically made, this mall has balconies in the upper floor, with benches for taking a break. In the evening, this mall also hosts live bands and gets the best of the upper crust clientele, due to the high quality environment and shopping experience on offer.

Do not for once miss out on the out of this world experience of the Dubai Mall. Besides being a virtual meliting pot of all the races in the world, this place is alive with shops, people, and variety. There are musical fountains ( having show timings) and the best part: the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. This is an absolute must-see for the young and old. The Dubai Aquarium has been awarded by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the largest acrylic aquarium in the world. It houses thousands o varieties of fish and sea life, and it is a fascinating experience to walk in the tunnel, watching fish pass you overhead and beside you. Indeed, the sea creatures are well looked after, and enjoy an ecosystem that they are used to. The Dubai Mall also has an ice skating rink, favoured by most adventurous and sport loving enthusiast.

Upstairs, one has to climb around two flights of stairs to the zoo. This too has an amazing variety: Penguins kept in melting ice, water rats, beavers, snakes from all over the world, and the deadliest of spiders: the Tarantula.Each animal variety on display have a information bulletin next to the cage. Needless to say, this is one experience you will not forget in a hurry.

While in Dubai, do not miss a trip that takes you in front of the Burj-al-Arab or Al-Burj. This super luxury hotel charges for even crossing over the bridge, so if you are unwilling to pay for that, then the emerald green sea beach that surrounds it will do just as well. Observe swimmers, surfers and sun bathers take the best out of this white sand beach.

The Atlantis, (The Palms Hotel and Resort) is another destination worth the effort of reaching. Today it houses hotels, resorts, aquariums, luxury villas, etc, all in the shape of a Palm Tree, which has been built out onto the sea. One can see this design plan even more clearly if one takes the helicopter ride across it. The Atlantis has several stay options for the tourist and the corporate man. It also offers celebration venues for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and other memorable occasions.

Dubai today is the venue for global cuisine, as much as it is for global fashion, electronic goods etc. One can savour the tastiest of dishes from a wide range of countries, and pick up bargains from any of the shops. It is doubtful whether you could pick up a better deal anywhere else in the world.

If you still have the time, then do squeeze in a moment for the Mall of the Emirates: this has, besides shops, Swiss style snow slopes, which are maintained at -4 deg.c.! There are even trainers to help you along, in case you are inexperienced.

A ride in the Arabian Dhow (fishing boat) is a good way to see the city by night. For a nominal cost, you will enjoy a leisurely cruise down the Dubai Creek (Khor River), with a dinner buffet thrown in.

The Dubai Desert Safari is the jewel in the crown of Dubai. This, in short, is a ride over the sand dunes in Land Cruisers, by able drivers. The thrill of the safari should not be missed, for this is an experience of a lifetime. In the camp, belly dances, and dances by whirling dervishes are organised, with a dinner thrown in. You can take a camel ride, have a henna design made on your hands, get photographed with an Arab Bedouin and his pet falcon, buy middle eastern belly dance attire and enjoy a cup of tea… even though it may be summer, and even though the mercury is hovering around 45 deg.c.!

No person can claim to return unimpressed or unaffected by Dubai. It is the Land of Plenty, and has on display all the best the world has to offer. Ifyou plan to cover all of this in three days flat, go with an open mind, plenty of energy and drive, and you would have achieved it all.

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Benefits of Hiring a Motivational Speaker

A motivational speaker is usually one of the first things that companies consider when aiming to rev up their employees. Motivational speakers are not only inspirational, but are professionals as well. Companies hire speakers all of the time to attend various company events in order to make an impression on those who attend. Basically, they're great for getting the ball rolling.

There are several benefits of hiring a leadership speaker, one of which is that they have a way of presenting that helps the audience view something in completely new light. Perhaps you have a number of employees and have noticed that things are not quite heading in the direction you would prefer. It's normal for things to become stagnant in the workplace. When people become accustomed to doing things the same way over and over again, they begin to get bored and lazy. People will ultimately lose their motivation and give up on reaching goals altogether.

A leadership speaker who specializes in goal setting catches the attention of listeners and gets everyone fired up. Some might refer to the magic that occurs as a phenomenon. In any event, everyone will have an "aha" moment. Although the company may be well-aware of what needs to be done, oftentimes, finding the motivation isn't always easy.

A motivational speaker will know exactly what to say and how to say it in order to help everyone perk up and veer in the direction of successful. Because leadership speakers are trained professionals, they also know how to get the communication flowing between members of the team. Simply by tossing out various ideas relating to improvement, a motivational speaker gains the power necessary to lead everyone listening, thus making it possible for new ideas to flow through between employees.

The leadership speaker brings enlightenment and purpose into the workplace. Perhaps your company lacks direction and has no clear purpose. A motivational speaker can provide you and your company with a direction because they have the skill to see the bigger picture. All within one session, a professional speaker can grant you the foresight required to understand what your next step will be.

A motivational speaker brings you nothing but positivity and profit. Without a sense of purpose, a company monetary goals will dissolve. Basically, if you do not try, you will get nowhere. It's not all about work, but working with a sense of purpose. It's very important that both you and your employees are on the same page when it comes to your company objectives. There is a huge difference between going through the motions and working with a sense of purpose.

The ultimate goal of a motivational speaker is to deliver a message that means something to everyone involved. Each message is meant to jolt an emotional and positive mental reaction that leads to physical action. People will work harder and smarter, increasing overall productivity levels because they are fully focused on what they are doing, which is working toward a common goal.

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Can Small Businesses Benefit From Offshore Outsourcing?

You may be thinking “Hey, I own a small business, isn’t offshore outsourcing for the fortune 500 companies?”

The thought of having an “outsider” handle some aspects of their company completely turns small businessmen off offshore outsourcing.

It is quite common to find small business owners handling every aspect of their business so that they can get some satisfaction of knowing that everything (and that includes the tiniest details) is going great with production, sales, finance, customer service and so on.

News, flash! According to the United States Business Association, an average small business owner usually spends 40% of his or her time on day to day administrative tasks. A lot of business owners spend a large chunk of their time finishing up tasks that will not even contribute a single cent to their profit margin – what a waste of precious time.

Offshore outsourcing services will definitely not put a hole in your bank account – this is also one of the reasons why small business owners don’t consider offshore outsourcing; they think it’s very expensive.

Okay, your business has reached that stage where you find it difficult to handle the customer service effectively; this is the time to take advantage of offshore outsourcing. Offshore call center solutions offer you great customer services at reduced costs. Customer service sure plays a vital role in the promotion of a business.

If you take advantage of call center outsourcing, you will get to save both time and money. You no longer have to worry about shelling loads of cash to pay for the following:

• Salaries and health benefits (which might include dental!)

• Office furniture and stationery

• Utilities

• Employment insurance

• Advanced technologies

• Regular training of company representatives etc.

With reputable offshore outsourcing services all you have to do is to focus on your business and leave your call center needs to us. Reputed companies only hire well educated, smart and skilled employees who are really dedicated to providing ONLY world class customer services.

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Insurance Adjuster – 8 Must-Haves for the Independent Claims Adjuster

Making a responsible decision to become an insurance adjuster, particularly an independent insurance adjuster, means knowing what equipment, gear, or "stuff" an adjuster should have in the field. Because independent insurance adjusters operate as independent contractors, they are frequently required to supply their own adjusting equipment. In general, there are 8 things that every independent adjuster should plan to have in the field. These items are not merely luxuries, but more like necessities, without which the job becomes difficult if not altogether impossible.

Here are the 8 Must-Haves:

Must-Have # 1: A Vehicle.

This is a bit of a no-brainer. The real question is what kind of vehicle an independent adjuster should drive. Some folks are under the impression that a claim cannot be properly handled unless you first arrive in an F-350 Turbo Diesel Dually. Certainly there are benefits to having a powerful truck in the field but in this author's opinion the better vehicle alternative is probably a smaller gas-efficient car. With foldable and telescoping ladders available everywhere, you can stow your ladder away neatly in any average-size sedan or coupe's trunk. Independent adjusters might drive a hundred or more miles daily so the issue of fuel economy should not be taken lightly. Further, negotiating your way through a heavily-trafficked street in Miami or New Orleans is far easier in a nimble Accord than in a blocky Hummer. And finally, in some areas, adjusters may just as soon not draw attention to themselves. Pulling into a high crime neighborhood in a $ 50,000 automobile wouldn't make me feel altogether easy. For my money, I'd prefer to just pass under the radar in an '01 Camry. Obviously the question is finally resolved by what kind of vehicle you are comfortable with. But keep in mind that the job can be done just as efficiently in a small coupe as a full-sized pickup.

Must-Have # 2: Navigation Device

A good GPS system might be the single best investment an independent adjuster can make. Independent adjusters, especially when working catastrophic claims, might scope four to six properties in a day. These properties may be spread out over a surprisingly wide geographical area. Using a traditional paper map is laughable when compared to the amazing speed and accuracy of a dash mounted GPS system. In fact, I would estimate a GPS system saves an adjuster at least of an hour a day in missed turns and forced stops to consult the Rand McNally. Project this over a month and you have a good 30 hours, or over an entire day, of time saved. That's an extra four or five claims closed per month. In some cases I would estimate that a GPS system can increase an adjuster's efficiency by as many as 10 claims per month. Cat adjusters are paid per claim, so that's an extra $ 2,000 to $ 5,000 in pocket per month. And finally, the frustration alone that a GPS prevents is worth the price tag.

A dash mounted GPS is a good option. Most models have more features than you will ever use so keep it basic and don't bother with anything over $ 700. A far lower priced option and one that is still absolutely packed with features is a program like Microsoft Streets and Trips. This $ 100 program is meant to be installed on your laptop and comes with a GPS device that connects to your computer via a standard USB plug-in. Streets and Trips allows you to take 10 destinations, find your current location, and calculate the quickest way to visit all 10. This is an excellent feature when planning your day's claim route.

Must-Have # 3: Laptop Computer

The days of hand-writing claims are essentially over. Electronic preparation and delivery of estimates is now standard and a laptop computer is the technology for the task. Xactimate and MSB IntegriClaim are the most commonly employed estimating programs and have minimum system requirements. Count on having a laptop with at least a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, 1.5 Gig of free hard drive space available, and a monitor resolution of 1024X768 or higher. With that in mind, don't let unconscientious salesmen or websites push heavy graphic packages or upgraded sound cards if you are buying a new laptop. You want to write estimates with this computer – not play Halo on a network in a college dorm.

Some adjusters have recently begun using tablet laptops (laptops with touch screens that swivel and fold down on themselves). In theory an adjuster could take such a laptop on a residential or commercial claim, hold it like a clipboard, and write the majority off the estimate in electronic form at the property. As usual, however, the technology for tablets is slightly behind the conceptual and promotional curve. I'd recommend waiting a few more years for the workability of the technology to catch up with the concept (which is a good one).

Must-Have # 4: A Good Ladder

Roof damage due to hail and high winds results in tens of thousands of claims yearly and property adjusters should be prepared to spend some time on roofs. A good ladder is your connection to the roof. Most accidents befalling claims adjusters involve ladders and the interchange between ladder and roof. Having a stable ladder should help give an adjuster peace of mind.

There are three types of ladders in common usage. Foldable ladders are an excellent option for adjusters. They come in a variety of models all of which will generally break down to around 5ft in their folded state. This is small enough to fit into virtually any trunk unless your adjusting vehicle of choice is a Miata. Wood models are even becoming available in fold-up form and are a better option than aluminum when working in areas where encounters with power lines may be of concern. Another highly compact ladder is the telescoping ladder. Telescoping ladders are generally the most compact ladder on the market today. The primary drawback, and it is a big one, is that a step will disappear disappear when sufficient weight or the wrong directional force sends a rung of the ladder zipping into the one below it. This can have disastrous results. If you are going for compact, I'd recommend the foldable variety. Traditional ladders are generally quite stable and secure but can't match the versatility of the foldable ladder.

Must-Have # 5: Digital Camera

A claims adjuster must represent as accurate as possible the damages or lack thereof to the claimant's property – literally painting a picture whereby file reviewers can asses the situation remotely. Sketching and watercolors aside, you need a camera and if you want to close claims quickly it had better be digital. Some claims with multiple types of damages can require hundreds of photos and scanning in that kind of number manually would be a nightmare. Digital cameras are quick, efficient, and built for the electronic estimate delivery. Don't bother with an SLR or, for that matter, anything costing you more than $ 300. You want something smallish, somewhat light, and preferably having a good return policy. In the process of doing a scope, particularly while scaling ladders and maneuvering about roofs, it is extremely easy to drop your camera – sometimes several stories down. A good return policy ensures that your purchase is safe. Regarding mega-pixels – anything above 7 or 8 mega-pixels is probably overkill. Do remember that digital cameras require an inordinate amount of batteries so be sure to always have at least three spare sets before going out to scope claims.

Must-Have # 6: Measuring Devices

There are two broad initial determinations made when assessing property damage: what is damaged and how much? Measuring devices tell you how much. A simple 25ft Tape Measure is your first tool. From there you should at least consider expanding your tool-kit to a laser tape measure. Imagine you are scoping a residence with interior damage to multiple rooms. The first room is quite large and filled with heavy clutter. Instead of trying to thread 18ft of tape out of your FatMax through sofa and electronic equipment in one direction and then another 22ft across a bar-set in the other direction, you simply click once in each direction and Presto !, you have your measurements. If you are measuring 5 or more rooms in one house you will probably shave 15 minutes off your scoping time. Over the course of a month, this time saved will result in more claims closed. Now some folks don't trust the accuracy of the laser measurer and, in fact, some insurance carriers will not allow their adjusters to use them. From my experience they work exceptionally well but do check with your claims manager before parading your new Disto around the office. A rolling measure can also come in handy, especially for roofs where a traditional 25ft tape measure will seldom be sufficient to measure every length of the roof. Again, in some instances, the use of rolling measures is not allowed, so do check with your claims manager.

Must-Have # 7: Tool-belt

In addition to your digital camera and various measuring devices, there are a few other items that are indispensable to a claims adjuster. This invites the logical question of "Where do I put all this stuff?". The answer is a tool-belt. Standard contractor toolbelts will do but pale in comparison to the variety that are custom built for claims adjusters. Custom adjuster tool-belts are specifically engineered to carry the necessary tools of an adjuster. Imagine climbing your ladder with both hands while securely carrying with you a digital camera, tape measure, wheel measure, clipboard, chalk, pitch gauge, and shingle gauge. Standard tool-belts may or may not be able to do this but certainly cannot do so as securely and intelligently as custom made belts. Stay organized and stay safe with a good adjuster tool-belt.

Must-Have # 8: The Adjuster Dress-Code

Adjusters are almost always expected to observe a dress code. The particular code may vary from company to company but in general you should expect to wear a sharp polo and khakis. Jeans won't cut it and tee-shirts, unless distributed to you specifically for wear in the field, are too informal. You want a professional and competent appearance. Adjuster footwear is another consideration. As you will be spending time on roofs, think about obtaining shoes that have strong traction. Leave the penny loafers at home or you risk skating off a steeply pitched roof. Specially crafted boots called Cougar Paws, with felt-like material adhered to the bottoms, were developed with roof walking in mind. In any case, remember that an independent adjuster spends a good deal of time on his or her feet and comfort and traction are the name of the game.

Having the right gear is critical for an independent insurance adjuster because it allows them to not merely do their job but do it with maximum efficiency. And an efficient claims handler is an adjuster who will never go hungry.

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Barack Obama, Poet

President Barack Obama is best known as the first black president of the United States. He was given the duty of presiding over the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, the longest United States war in history in Afghanistan, and the largest oil leak in the history of the United States. All of these are incredibly large tasks to over-come.

Before President Obama’s call to serve the public, he was an amazing college student. While attending Occidental College as a 19-year-old, he published two poems in the Spring 1982 issue of Feast, the school’s literary magazine.

The two poems, “Pop” and “Underground”, are given decent reviews by Harold Bloom, a professor at Yale University. However, Bloom does state that “If I had been shown these poems by one of my undergraduates and asked, Shall I go on with it?, I would have rubbed my forehead and said, On the whole, my dear, probably not. Your future is not as a person of letters (The New Yorker, July 2, 2007).”

Although not received entirely too favorably, President Obama as a poet is seemingly true, at least as a young-man. Even though his writings are apparently sub-par to that of “true” poets, his writings are genuine and passionate–which is what being a poet is all about.

Today, President Obama is not known to be still writing poetry. However, he is still known to salivate at the thought of rhythmic words. The President is often seen carrying a book of poetry, he and the First Lady held a celebration of poetry, music, and the spoken word at the White House, and during his inauguration had Elizabeth Alexander read a poem.

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Important Benefits Of RV Storage

RV storage or recreational vehicle storage is a matter of great concern to people who own RVs, especially when the RV has to be stored for the winters.

RVs or recreational vehicles refer to three major types of vehicles – motor homes, truck campers and travel trailers. Since these RVs are not used on a regular basis, the storage of such vehicles is very important. To maintain the operational efficiency of these vehicles, it is necessary to inspect these vehicles periodically when they are in storage. There are many things that RV owners need to think about when they are storing their RVs during the winter season. A major concern that RV owners have is the space for storage.

The RVs usually occupy a larger space than the regular vehicles. There are several storage companies offering the storage facilities for the RV storage. In addition to the RV storage, these storage companies also provide self storage, storage units, self storage units for car storage, boat storage, furniture storage and so on.

Get Expert Advice

Special car needs to be taken when you are storing the recreational vehicle. You need to get some expert advice for the recreational vehicle storage. The storage companies have set up customer care services that will give you all the help you need on it. If you are not comfortable to use the services of the customer service, you can check out the websites of the companies.

You can also use a garage storage or warehouse for the RV storage, but you will not get the various facilities that you may get in a specialized storage facility. When you use the facilities of companies, you will get combination locks. The main advantage of the combination locks is that you will have the master key and no other goods will be stored in that facility without your knowledge.

The rental charges of such storage units vary from one storage company to another. Good storage companies offer round-the-clock surveillance features. This means that you can sit back at your home when someone is guarding your valuable recreational vehicle. In most modern storage facilities, closed circuit cameras are installed to check out if there is any unauthorized access in those facilities. When you have bought a facility on rent, you can visit the storage facility whenever you want. Some companies may even give you login credentials, which you may have to use when entering the storage facility.

The height and width of the door of the RV storage facility is very important. You need to have sufficient space inside and outside the storage facility in order to ensure the smooth parking of the recreational vehicle. Check out with the storage company if they have storage options, such as climate controls. It would be advantageous if you stored your goods in climate controlled storage units.

Some recreational vehicles have different home and living space features, such as a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen. So, when storing the recreational vehicle, you will have to ensure that you take the necessary measures to store the interior items as well.

If you are storing the recreational vehicle for the whole of winter, you will have to check out with the storage company for the important things that you need to do. Generally, the storage company officials will give you a checklist that will contain all the dos and don’ts of the RV storage.

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Diet Plans for Women – Important Tips for Finding Diets That Work for Women

While there is no lack of diets available today, finding diet plans for women that really provide results can be difficult. While you want to lose weight, you want to make sure you’re losing that weight for good. The last thing you want is to lose a few pounds, just to gain them back in a few weeks. For this reason, it’s important to look for diets that work. Women often have special concerns when choosing a diet plan, since a women’s body is so different from a man’s body. To help you find a woman friendly diet that really provides results, here are a few important tips to keep in mind.

Tip #1 – Consider Your Lifestyle. One of the main reasons women have a tough time sticking to a diet is because the diet just doesn’t fit into their lifestyle. This is why it’s so important to actually consider your lifestyle when it comes to choosing diet plans for women. If you’re a stay at home mom, you may find it easier to stick to health foods, since you have your kitchen right there with you throughout the day. However, if you work outside your home and you’re constantly busy, you’ll need to find a diet plan that will fit into your hectic lifestyle. If the diet plan doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, you won’t stick with it, so find a good plan that you can work into your lifestyle for the best results.

Tip #2 – Don’t Give Up Everything You Like. Another tip to follow when trying to find diets that work for women is to avoid giving up everything you like for a diet plan. Many women go on extremely restrictive diets that require them to give up all their favorite foods. This often leads to bingeing and guilt, making it tougher to really lose weight. Choose a good diet that will allow you to enjoy your favorite foods in moderation while still taking off those extra pounds. Dieting isn’t about giving up your favorite foods – it’s all about making healthier choices while still enjoying food.

Tip #3 – Remember that Protein is Important. As you are searching for a good diet plan, remember that protein is extremely important for women. Don’t go for plans that cut out protein sources. Your body needs protein for strong muscles. Eating healthy proteins will help you as you work to build muscle and more muscle will help boost your metabolism, which results in more weight loss. Plenty of protein is always important, so don’t go on a low protein diet.

Tip #4 – Don’t forget to eat the fats. Sounds counterintuitive but you still need to get fat in your diet-the good fats! Essential fats can be found in numerous natural products.Stay away from the saturated fats and focus on foods with unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fats are divided into monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, and both types are thought to have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels.The good fats can be found in mostly cold-water fish, some nuts, avocado, flax seed oils, dark leafy greens, and some vegetable oils.

Tip #5 – Focus on More Than Weight Loss. While you definitely want to lose some weight, you need to focus on more than weight loss when it comes to choosing diet plans for women. You want to choose a diet that will be good for your overall health. This means you should eat a well balanced diet. Make sure your diet gives you plenty of calcium so you can work to prevent osteoporosis. Your diet should include other nutrient rich foods that will help prevent diseases like heart disease and cancer. While losing weight is important, it’s also important to eat with overall health in mind for the best results.

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Best Things to Do in Puglia

Taking a holiday in any of the wonderful hotels in Puglia will take you to the boot of Italy and into a region full of history and wonderful tradition. There are many activities that can tear you away from the beautiful beaches in order to sample the culture of this great region. Whether your interests are in history or exploring the scenic landscapes, you will find plenty to interest you.

Historical Sites

Visiting Otranto, which is situated on the Adriatic, will reward you with the chance to see the 800-year-old Tree of Life Mosaic, which is in the Norman cathedral. It completely fills the floor of the choir and the nave and looks like a family tree. You can spend hours looking at the wonderful mix of bizarre images that are spread throughout the branches, including biblical characters like Noah and historical and legendary characters like Alexander the Great and King Arthur. They are joined by a variety of unicorns, Norse gods and dragons and it is definitely worth a visit.

In Lecce, the 17th century nobles decided to compete with the great architecture being built in the north and they commissioned their own. The resulting Baroque architecture caused the town to be labelled as the ‘Florence of the South’. There are six beautiful churches dotted around the centre of the town, which stand alongside the Roman amphitheatre, the triumphal arch and wonderful squares and courtyards. The most beautiful of the Baroque churches is the 16th Century Basilica of Santa Croce, with its mermaids, wolves and carved cherubs.

If your lucky number is eight you should definitely pay a visit to the 13th Century Castel del Monte, as the building is an homage to the figure eight! It has octagons everywhere and was built by the Roman Emperor Frederick II. It is a unique piece of military architecture and is one of the two World Heritage sites in the region.

For those with an interest in the archaeological history of the region, a visit to The Museum of Egnazia is to be recommended. It is set inside the ancient walls of Gnathia and has eleven pavilions, which contain many archaeological treasures.

Outdoor Attractions

For a quiet beach with a hidden secret you could visit the area around Casalabate and San Cataldo. The beach is to be found by following an unpaved track just past Torre Rinalda where you will find an unspoilt paradise, which is usually quiet. For diving fans a secret can be found 50 metres out from the beach, where there is a wrecked ship that was sunk by the British Navy in 1941.

The Gravina and Alta Murgia national park is another great place to visit when staying in the hotels in Puglia around this region. The ancient medieval town perches beside one of the ravines that define this landscape, and the nearby Alta Murgia national park, with its protected plateau, is a great place for a ramble.

Another beautiful natural park is to be found in the Salento area. The Porto Selvaggio Nature Reserve is a protected area of wild pinewood that leads to a picturesque creek edged with white rocks. There are several trekking paths, which lead to such delights as the Uluzzo Tower and the Grotta del Cavallo.

Whether you prefer to spend your time staying on site in the hotels in Puglia, delving into the history of the region, or exploring the landscape, you will find plenty to occupy you in this beautiful part of Italy.

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Retailing, a New Luminary & Cynosure of Business a Corporate Outlook

DEFINITION AND SCOPE OF RETAILING

The word ‘retail’ is derived from the French word ‘retailer’ meaning ‘to cut a piece off’ or ‘to break bulk’. In simple terms, it implies a first-hand transaction with the customer.Retailing involves a direct interface with the customer and the coordination of business activities from end to end – right from the concept or design stage of a product or offering, to its delivery and post-delivery service to the customer. The industry has contributed to the economic growth of many countries and is undoubtedly one of the fastest changing and dynamic industries in the world today.

Retailing and the Marketing Mix

Retailing forms an integral part of the marketing mix and includes elements like product, place, price, people, presentation and promotion. Place relates to the distribution and availability of products in various locations. Customers are first introduced to the product at the retail store. Organizations sell their products and services through these retail outlets and get feedback on the performance of their products and customers’ expectations about them. Retail stores serve as communication hubs for customers. Commonly known as the Point of Sale (POS)’ or the Point of Purchase (POP), retail stores transmit information to the customers through advertisements and displays. Hence, the role of retailing in the marketing mix is very significant.

GLOBAL OVERVIEW OF RETAILING

With total sales of US$ 6.6 trillion, retailing is the world’s largest private industry, ahead of finance (US$ 5.1 trillion) and engineering (US$ 3.2 trillion). Some of the world’s largest companies are in this sector: over 50 Fortune 500 companies and around 25 of the Asian Top 200 firms are retailers. Wal-Mart, the world’s second largest retailer, has a turnover of US$ 260 billion, almost one-third India’s GDP. As many as 10% of the world’s billionaires are retailers. The industry accounts for over 8% of GDP in western countries, and is one of the largest employers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 22 million Americans are employed in the retailing industry in over 2 million retail stores.

KEY DRIVERS OF RETAILING IN INDIA

In the pre-liberalization supply-led market, the power rested clearly with the manufacturers. In today’s demand-led market, it’s the consumer who calls the shots. Over the last decade, there has been a significant evolution in the Indian consumer, mainly due to the liberalization of the consumer goods industry that was initiated in the mid-eighties and accelerated through the nineties, combined with a growing consumerism driven by the media, new opportunities and increasing wealth. Although this change is most noticeable in the metros, it has affected consumers in smaller towns as well. Many retail organizations have customer relationship management (CRM) programmers that help find out about their customers’ purchase patterns. This also enables them to design a comprehensive benefit package for them. Retail organizations like Shoppers’ Stop have used customer loyalty programmers with success, increasing their active base of consumers and delivering innovative benefit plans for them. They also focus on getting a larger share of sales from the loyal base of consumers.

Recent Format Developments

New retail formats have begun to supersede conventional ones. Independent big-box multi-brand department stores have started selling footwear as a category, especially in metros and cities. Malls are another new shopping format that is growing rapidly in the metros. Many upcoming footwear retailers are obtaining space inside the mails as mall partners to take advantage of the ready footfalls available. For the existing independent Bobcat stores it is expensive now to run campaigns and promotions to attain the required footfalls and expected conversion.

Merchandise Presentation and Visual Merchandising.

Bobcat pioneered the concept of show window displays in India with a style that was unique to the company. It was professionally managed, with an exclusive team handling the motif and the design. Every moth the direction to decorate the show windows were given by a mailer prepared by special decorators. Sales personnel in each store were trained to be window decorators too. Recently, these windows had to be done away with because the company thought that they should follow the contemporary practice of free-access retailing, where all merchandise pairs are displayed in open shelves to enable customers to help themselves. Remember, in India footwear is always tried on a footstool and bought after considerable service extended by the sales person personally. Free-access retailing may work when there is adequate space inside a store to move around. The effect of such ‘pigeon-hole’ free access is that they give an impression that they are Bobcat’s R-Pair outlets.

STORE DESIGN AND THE RETAILING IMAGE MIX THE SPACE MIX

For the retailer space is money. The store has to be planned in such a way that it optimizes the selling area and minimizes the non-selling parts. The selling area is used to present the merchandise and the non-selling part is account for by circulation space, aisles, staircases, lifts, facilities, the back area, etc. The area in a typical department store is: selling area about 60%, circulation area 15% and back area 25%.If the store has any extra area, it is given to concessionaires to complement the store offering mix and to de-risk space. Examples are Planet M in Shoppers’ Stop, Planet Sports in Pyramid and Ways in Lifestyle.In a garment retail store, planning the size of the customer segment is intercepted and there wardrobe mix of garments and accessories mapped. This then determines the number of styles and the range width of the category. Then a business plan is made based on the integration with space.

The selling space is then configured in terms of size and location of goods based on the mix of staple, convenience and impulse merchandise Staple Goods are the core USP of the store. These constitute about 55% of the store offering and are4 kept at the central and deeper ends of the store. This enhances visibility, since the customer has to pass through the entire store to reach them. The shirts and trousers section in department stores form the staple merchandise. Similarly, grains and sugar are the staples in a supermarket. Convenience goods are no-fuss basic merchandise that constitute about 30% of the store and are bought in multiple units. These need to be in convenient locations in the store to ensure conversions. Undergarments and white basic cotton T-shirt in a department store are convenience merchandise.Impulse purchase merchandise-which usually constitutes about 15% of the store and has the highest of sale-is given maximum exposure in order to tempt the customer into buying them. Candies in a supermarket and socks and hair accessories in a fashion store are impulse purchase items and are kept near the cash counters and entrances/exits. The customer picks them up after shopping for convenience and staple merchandise. The locations of various goods are chosen carefully to ensure that the customer is exposing to the entire store, thus increasing the possibility of a purchase.Talking about space management and optimization in a retail store, Ajay Mehta, COO of Times Retail (Planet M) says: “Space management does not end with just optimization, but has a much larger opportunity for merchandise promotion and display which not only can profit for a retail organization but entertain and delight customers too”.

EFFECTIVE RETAIL SPACE MANAGEMENT

The sight of a good retail store with attractive windows and an enticing entrance induce the customer into entering. The customer enters the store and often keeps walking inside following the walkway wherever it leads, or sometimes takes a while to look for directions within the store. Sometimes the customer’s attention is drawn to certain displays and merchandise presentation before he move on. To reach his destination inside the store, the customer tends to follow directions to reach there, especially in a big-box format. Seldom does he realize that subconsciously he is directed to ‘walk’ the entire store and thus exposing him to all that the store has to offer. This is achieved through a well thought-out and laid-out retail floor design.Effective retail floor space management is critical to the successful operation of a retail store, as more and more sales from the same space would lead to increased margins for the organization. According to R. Siam, CEO of Crossword: “Space planning is integral to the success of any retail store since the biggest investment in retail is in space”.

Let us now look at the ground rules for effective floor space planning and management. At the same time, let us get an insight into the customers’ physical and emotional needs that contribute to store design conceptualization and space planning.

STORE LAYOUT: THE CIRCULATION PLANT (THE “SILENT GUIDE”)

Once inside the store, the customer needs to be guided silently to where he/she wants to go and also expose him/her to the offering. This can be achieved by planning the circulation and the location of the merchandise.

FLOOR SPACE MANAGEMENT

One of the common problems in retail floor management in India is lack of attention paid to space productivity. Usually space productivity. Usually space productivity does not figure in the Key Result Areas of either the Store Operations or Buying and Merchandising departments. But ideally both should pay attention to this area. Store Operations, since it is responsible for reorders and replenishment, and Buying and Merchandising because it is accountable fro the Gross Profit Return (GPR) on the space occupied by the merchandise.

Parameters to Judge Space Performance

How the space performs can be judge by:

-The sales output and the ensuing margins.

-The inventory holding that leads to sales and the ensuing margins.

In a nutshell the performance parameters are sales and margins and their direct relationship to the stock holding on the retail floor.

Sales per square foot, or top-line plan (sales): Here, space productivity is measured by sales volumes and value achieved per square foot per day.

Margins per square foot or bottom-line plan (gross margin returns on footage, or GMROF): Here, space productivity is determined by the average inventory holding per square foot per day and how it measures against the ideal level of stock holding planned for a designed space in the store. Stock-turns in such designated space play a vital role in earning good revenue returns on the space occupied when they are optimized.This space performance measurement can be done for any of the rungs in the SKU hierarchy: a department/division, a category/class, a sub-category/ sub-class, a brand and even for any style or size options.Says G.S.M. Ghana, former Senior Vice-President (Retain) at Bata India Ltd: “One must analysis statistics of the value of merchandise and margins broken down to the space occupied by micro-groups of merchandise in the store. This will help retailers develop a blueprint for profitable deployment of especially in chain store operations. In addition, not only should merchandise categories be placed in the right locations that will maximize profitability but such placement should help attain uniformity for comfortable shopping by customers.”

Space Audit: Non-treaded and Black Holes.Any successful retail store audits its space productivity from time to time. This audit looks at the various retail functions and activities for which space is employed and analyses returns in order to optimize them. It compares the performance of each function or activity with others in relation to space occupied.Hot Spot Analysis: Hot spots are areas where the off take or merchandise is the highest. Similarly, there are warm spots and cold spots, where merchandise sales are lower. An analysis of these hot spot, warm spots and cold spots is made periodically and steps taken to convert cold spots to warm spots and warm spots to hot spots while retaining the best sales and the stock-turns of the spots.Such audits reveal non-treaded space, where there in no customer traffic, and less treaded space which ha slow traffic. The possible reasons for these are analysis and hurdles and bottlenecks identified and removed to ensure that there are no non-treaded and black hole areas.

Efficiency of Selling Space to Non-selling Space: The utilization of selling and non-selling spaces-back area, facilities area, etc.-are periodically monitored for there efficiency in deliveries. A good retailer always aims to optimize selling space to improve the bottom-line, while taking care not to compromise on the efficiency of deliveries of the non-selling space.

Ground Rules for Successful Space and Layout Management

Remember the golden rule of the retail floor space planning and management game-the convenience of the customer comes first.Provide the greatest opportunity for the customer to walk around the stores and browse through all the merchandise displayed, for it is the browsers who turn into buyers-buyers of a large basket size.Optimize the trading space to achieve maximum sales, while not neglected the non-trading area for customer convenience/concessions in order to ensure that they spend a longer time store and increase revenues.Make the right floor space management decisions after every space audit, effecting the necessary course-corrections on time as space costs a good deal of money.

Appeal to all the five senses of the customer by creating an aesthetic and functionally effective ambience (which should eventually become the credo of a successful store) so that you can cling to the mind-space of the customer and Bering him back to the store again and again. Remember, a retail floor designed, planned and managed well with the target customer in mind helps to make an emotional connection with the buyer.

Retail Merchandising

The term ‘merchandising’ is unique and exclusive to the retail industry. It refers to the entire process of inventory planning and management in a retail organization. Merchandising, when done properly, leads to an increase in the return on investment (ROI). The greater the ROI, more the profitability.

Merchandise Planning

For a retailer, the objective of merchandise planning is clear: achieving the following seven ‘RIGHTS’

– The Right Product

– The Right Place

– The Right Quantity

– The Right Quality

– The Right Price

– The Right Mix or Assortment

– The Right Time

In order to satisfy every customer’s needs, the retail store must have the right product in the right place, in the right quantity, with the right quality, at the right price, with the right mix of sizes or variants and at the right time. The function of merchandising is to achieve all these ‘rights’ so that sales are high with an ideal level of inventory holding and thus more profits.

Merchandise Hierarchy.While planning the merchandise mix, a retail organization has to start with a clear definition of its merchandise hierarchy. The merchandise hierarchy is a disciplined way of grouping the merchandise mix at different levels, starting from a high-level grouping to the lowest level of the stock-keeping unit (SKU).The merchandise hierarchy forms the platform needed to create the store’s merchandise mix. The merchandising for the store dictates the different divisions and the lower rungs that the store must have in the hierarchy.

Building the store’s merchandise mix by following the concept of merchandise hierarchy has its advantages:

(a) One can define in terms of ratios the mix of elements at each level of the hierarchy.

(b) One can analyze and drill down through the rungs of the hierarchy to the problem areas, if any up to SKU level.

(c) One can remove or add elements following security escalations.

This means if the store’s merchandise decisions have to be taken based on the performance, say, of the millions of SKUs contributing to the formation of the merchandise pyramid for the store – the peak being the divisions – decisions at the lower rungs can be taken by front-line personnel. Those at the higher levels, which would impact the merchandise proposition / image of the store, can be taken by the higher-ups.

SKU: To use an example (see Fig. 12), a 410-size white shirt of solid design at the price-point of Rs. 750 (all options in the last level) having a button-down collar of the Arrow brand in the full sleeves sub-category or sub-class of the shirts category belonging to the men’s department of the apparel division in a organization is an SKU. The levels in the merchandise hierarchy may be different for various products categories. For instance, in a supermarket, the levels may be:

Divisions: Food

Department: Packaged Food

Category: Sauces

Sub-category: Tomato

Brands: Magi

Options: 250g, 500g, 1kg.

Range Planning:

The first step in the process of range planning is merchandise assortment planning. This is a mix in percentage terms at every rung of the store’s merchandise hierarchy.The first element in the merchandise plan is the Strategic Plan. This is normally taken at the high level and used to set out the critical success factors for merchandising in terms of sales, margins and stocks.A category-level margin plan is also created to plan the gross margins that each level (up to the SKU level) contributes to the store. The definition of the merchandise and the assortment planning based on the hierarchy levels help in analyzing weekly sales, stock and intake plan etc. at the category, sub-category, brand or SKU levels. With this, one can also identify any problems in sales or inventory holding at any levels and take corrective action. It is here that Open to buy (see ‘The Buying Function’ below) is planned in the process of buying. This is normally the first significant success factor in the implementation of the planning process.

Example of an assortment of shirt 20 pieces in stock:

Small / 2, Medium / 6, large / 7, Extra Large / 4, Extra Large / 1 = 20 pieces

Such an assortment plan helps replenish items to the store stock after they are sold by establishing minimum and maximum levels of stocking units. For instance, in the above example if the assortment ratio is planned as per the planned stock-turn for the store as 20 pieces, then the maximum stocks that are available in the SKU can only be 20. The replenishment trigger can be planned so that it is set off when the stock reaches a minimum specified level after sales. Another way of planning replenishment – which is done generally in high-turnover categories – is to trigger off reorders as and when the merchandise is sold with a cap on the maximum stock holding.

Pangram: There is another type of Assortment plan that is emerging now. It is a graphical range plan called the pangram. This short of plan moves away from the purely numerical type of planning that has been used until now and allows the range to be put together in a visual way. Typically digitally stored images are manipulated into collage-type storyboards. Space planning software packages like that of AC Nielsen support such graphic base stock mapping, which helps in easy replenishment planning and effective store space utilization.

Thus merchandise assortment planning and base stock – numerical and visual-numerical methods respectively – enable one to take account of the space utilization in a store by calculating the Return on Space Employed or Returns on Footage.

THE BUYING FUNCTION

Buying for a retail organization is a critical function of merchandising. The process begins with the preparation of the buying plan, called ‘Open To buy’ or OTB. It is helps retailers project and control future buying so that the flow of merchandise in the store matches anticipated sales at desired stock turn rates to give a positive cash flow.For organized buying one need to follow the OTB planning, since it prevents over-buying, eliminates confusion and enables the organization to make more profits.

So what exactly is OTB? OTB refers to merchandise budgets for purchase during a certain period of time for which the stocks have not yet been ordered. It is also the process of forecasting sales and purchases. OTB is a planning tool that assists in setting budgets for sales and merchandise inventory levels and in monitoring the current status of the OTB amount, which is the amount remaining to be ordered to meet the budget.Every retailer needs to use an OTB plan, as most tend to overstock when sales increase and under stock when they are low. Often a small increase in sales leads to excessive buying that ultimately affects the retailer fix the ideal amount of stock that should be on hand at the beginning of any given month and the quantum of new merchandise to be received during the month.

Ann efficient OTB plan has the following elements:Forward Sales Planning (Sales Forecast): The sales plan ought to be prepared for the entire year with month-wise details of planned sales. A good OTB plan helps one to react to variations in sales plans (as the current month comes to an end), reschedule deliveries and cancel or alter purchase orders for future deliveries, as the case may be.

Forward Cover: This is based on the planned stock turns for the retail out fit. Form instance, if the planned stock turns for the store is four times in a year, and then the ideal stock holding at any point in time should be equivalent to three months’ stock cover.

Stock Required: This is based on the forward cover planned month is month 1, then the stock required will be the sum of the planned/forecast sales of months 2, 3 and 4.

Opening Stock: The value of the opening stock is a flow calculation. In OTB planning, the first entry is an estimate. From the second month onwards, the opening stock is the closing figure of the previous month.

Intake Requirement: This is the difference between the required stock and the opening stock.

On Order: These are stocks that have been already ordered and due for delivery during the relevant period.

Open to Receive: This figure is arrived at by deducting the stock on order, if any, from the intake requirement. This figure indicates the OTB quantity.

Closing Stock: To arrive at this figure, one needs to take the opening stock, subtract the sales, and add the on-order and open-to-receive quantities.

Advantage of an Open to Buy Plan

The OTB plan enables retailers to estimate in advance the amount

It helps ensure the right inventory level to support planned sales and to attain the best Gross Margin Return on Inventory (GMROI).The OTB plan places restraints on merchandise commitments so that the stock receives the right merchandise at the right time and not before or after.

It enables a continuous flow of fresh merchandise into the store month after month during the seasons.

The OTB plan establishes goals so that the actual performance can be compared with the plan and corrective action taken inn the required areas.Above all, an efficient OTB plan provides the organization more opportunity for profit.Retailers who follow a well-formulated POTB plan are successful in their merchandising and buying efforts. The merchandise management system employed in the organization generally support such statistical techniques in the OTB plan, but it is the buyer’s insight and decision-making capability that help deliver best result.

MARKUPS AND MARKDOWNS IN MERCHANDISE MANAGEMENT

Markup is the percentage amount (calculated on cost) added to cost in order to arrive at the maximum retail price for a product. Hence,

Markup = percentage of margin calculated on cost added to arrive at the maximum retail price.

Cost = Maximum Retail Price – Margin

Margin = Maximum Retail Price – Cost

Maximum Retail Price = Cost + Markup

Markup is based on cost and is expressed in percentage terms.

Problem: What is the markup percentage for a dress that cost Rs. 200 and retails for Rs. 400?

Markup % = Difference between MRP and cost (Rs.400 – Rs.200) ÷ Cost (Rs.200) x 100

= Rs.200 ÷ Rs. 200 x 100

= 100%

Sometimes the retailer needs to look at the cost of an item and determine what that item should retail for It is fixed if the target customer is willing to pay that price. Markdown is the amount reduced from the maximum retail to arrive at the new retail price. Markdown is calculated as a percentage of MRP. Problem: What is the markdown percentage for a dress whose original MRP is Rs. 400 and the new retail price after markdown is Rs.200?

Markdown % = Difference between old MRP and new MRP after markdown (Rs.400 – Rs. 200) ÷ old MRP (Rs. 400) x 100

= Rs. 200 ÷ Rs. 400 x 100

= 50%

Markdowns are done when product sales low are or when the season draws to a close and the product line needs to be cleared from the shelves. Merchandise is also marked down when inventories are high, when saleable merchandise is shop-soiled or when certain price-off promotions are done. Markdowns are also affected when products that have manufacturing defects but are still saleable are found at the floor level. It is essential that the markdown percentage is kept at the lowest, as it directly affects the returns on gross margins in a retail store.

The Current Scenario in India

Retailing in India is plagued by weak gross margins compared to those in global retailing. While apparel retailers manage to get gross margins of 30-33% after struggling a great deal with vendors and brand markets the food sector has to settle for just 15-19%.

The lifestyle garments and related accessory retailer Shoppers’ Stop has four in-store private label brands that contributed approximately 25% to its turnover, growing 5% over the previous year. The private label of a Delhi-based apparel retailer Robyn Retail contributed approximately 21% to total sales last year.

I grocery, Food world’s private label brands account fro around 21% of total sales. It is reported that the company plants to increase the share of its store brands to 27% of total sales by the time the first phase of the private label initiative is over. Food World expects to extend its private label brand to 38 sub-categories from the 22 it currently has.

West-side, the apparel retailing initiative from the house of Tatars, is a success story with a strategic approach to private brand retailing (approximately 80% to 85% of the merchandise retailed comprises its own brands). The store is said to be struggling in the area of men’s apparel, which is truly brand-led, and is said to be contemplating accommodating a few ‘must have’ men’s brands in its outlets in addition to its core private labels.

References:

1) fibre2fashion.com/…/impact-of-retail-management-in-the-growth-of-indian-economy1.asp

2) fibre2fashion.com/industry-article/free-retail-industry-article

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