Planning a better sales floor with custom application development

Database software offers benefits to retailers in the way of inventory, customer, time and asset management. These companies can get the most value out of custom application development when they use this information to better plan out the day-to-day alterations to their retail space.

Brick-and-mortar retailers rely on a targeted approach to arranging the sales floor, one in which items must be placed carefully to appeal to customers and increase the chances for a purchase. Custom application development can connect retailers with tools specifically designed to help in this process.

Space planning programs powered by database software may be able to provide retailers with the analytics information on each item they sell. Using this data, stores can then optimize their floor to enhance sales potential.

For example, retailers will be able to identify if certain items sell better in a specific location. Additionally, managers will be able to adjust inventory levels accordingly, ensuring that the prime selling locations in their store are always stocked with the most profitable items.

Such a strategy can have other benefits in addition to simply increasing sales potential. When items are in an optimal location and selling at the best possible rate, stores may be able to avoid typical markdowns or sales that are frequently used by merchants who want to eliminate unwanted or excess inventory.

Customers might also be more pleased with the shopping experience if they can be sure they will find the items they desire in a convenient location every time.

Retailers who seek custom application development for store planning purposes are best served speaking with software developing companies that take a collaborative approach to application design. Developers that seek input and approval from their clients may be more likely to produce database software that fits the needs and desires of the respective user.

“7 Tips To Improve The Performance of Your FileMaker Solution” Demo Files

The FM Academy webinar 7 Tips To Improve The Performance of Your FileMaker Solution was a big success. I really enjoyed doing the presentation. In the near future there should be video of the presentation uploaded to the FM Academy YouTube Channel so you can watch the presentation if you missed it.I did make one mistaken comment during the presentation. During the section on server side scripts I said you could print to PDF reports with server side scripts. This was a mistake as this is not a native FileMaker server side script step. Sorry for the confusion.

I have uploaded the demo file used in the presentation here:

Setting and achieving goals with database software

In a business setting, managers frequently ask individual workers and the company as a whole to reach collectively towards certain milestones. However, many times these goals are unfulfilled because the company lacked a targeted approach and the right tools.

As René Shimada Siegel – founder of a marketing and communications consulting firm – wrote for Inc.com, achieving goals can be a challenge on a personal level because many people are not consistent in their approach. Sometimes, individuals set goals that are either too easy to reach – and therefore unfulfilling – or difficult and unrealistic.

Instead, individuals and businesses alike should set a goal that is challenging but realistic. Similarly, goal-setters should find ways to be held accountable publicly, as this will provide more of an incentive to succeed and reach these milestones.

Companies often have little trouble with accountability, as their employees, managers and stakeholders are all individuals who can publicly judge the business' success or failure. As a result, many times these corporate milestones are unmet due to certain influences or challenges, whether they be financial, operational or administrative.

To avoid falling prey to these difficulties, business owners need to consider the tools they have in place to achieve goals.  If certain inefficiencies are hampering the company's overall ability to succeed, steps should be taken to correct them.

Custom application development can play an important part in this process. Database software that is tailor-made to handle a business' specific concerns and challenges can help increase productivity, allowing owners to maximize resources and keep their team on the path to reaching a collective goal.

A number of software developing companies can connect customers with the right database software, but the best ones take a similar goal-driven approach to custom application developing. These companies keep clients in the loop throughout the development process, providing the accountability and structure that makes milestones reachable.

Changing the workflow for the new year with database software

As 2011 winds down and 2012 inches closer, more business owners may benefit from taking an internal look at their own processes and determining ways to simplify workflow in the new year. Database software can provide answers for many companies' task and management-related concerns.

Mark Strippy, an executive with a payroll services company, told Smart Business Online that payroll matters should be at the top of the list for many businesses at the start of the new year. That's because, while a majority of companies outsource this management for simplicity, relying on subpar servicers may do more to hurt productivity than help it.

The new year presents an opportune time to start a relationship with a new payroll provider, Strippy adds, because it allows businesses to start fresh and measure results as the year progresses.

However, payroll services are not the only thing worth revisiting entering the new year. For example, by researching software developing companies and turning to custom application development, companies may be able to acquire the software solutions they need to patch up other financial shortcomings.

Custom applications can allow business owners to keep track of their staff's time management responsibilities, which in turn lets managers easily track how many hours are spent on certain projects or clients. By seeing a visual representation of this data in an accessible program, owners can make better decisions to ensure that they are allocating workers in the most productive manner.

When paired with stronger payroll services, time management software can create a more holistic approach to employee relations. Vendors such as FileMaker provide the platform companies need to create this database software, but only a certified and experienced FileMaker developer can help customers maximize this resource.
 

DOL grants to support innovation in the workplace

Business owners frequently analyze their internal systems to determine if there is anything that needs improvement. It's this type of analysis that leads many to turn to the beneficial technical advances offered by services such as custom application development.

Now, many public employment organizations might be able to lean on federal grants to turn productivity-improving concepts into reality. The Department of Labor announced $98.5 million in grants from its Workforce Innovation Fund, which would allow certain institutions the funding they need to improve their level of service.

The funds will be specifically earmarked for state and local organizations or boards that promote workforce training or public employment initiatives. Conceptually, these organizations – many of which are responsible for empowering public workers and linking the unemployed with jobs – might benefit from additional funding that can pay for important system upgrades.

These improvements may include technical tools – such as database software – or moer dramatic organizational changes, according to a DOL press release.

"The mission of the public workforce system is to find good jobs for everyone," Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said. "These grants will significantly enhance the capacity of our public workforce system by identifying, evaluating and expanding successful programs."

Other businesses could similarly accomplish these goals by looking at internal processes and identifying potential areas of improvement. To this end, researching the best software developing companies to find one that can craft database software or other business productivity programs may yield significant benefits for businesses. These measures can tighten up part of the business that were once considered a time drain and allow managers the opportunity to better track and analyze important data.
 

Steps to increase a company’s workflow

Part of a manager's daily responsibilities is keeping employees on task and productive. Several tools – including business productivity programs and database software – can help these executives in that never-ending obligation, but it may also pay off to encourage a handful of strong employee habits.

In a recent piece on Inc.com, project management expert Tony Wong shared some of his tips for a more productive worker. These included a de-emphasis on multitasking, which requires individuals to stretch their capabilities too thin, ultimately hurting the quality of work they produce.

Similarly, Wong suggested that workers should expedite certain tasks by taking the quicker route – long, time-consuming email chains might be resolved more quickly with a phone conversation, for instance. In addition, productive employees should eliminate distractions – many of which are borne of multitasking – and schedule regular breaks to recharge.

While a manager may suggest their employees adopt many of these habits, developing a workplace that maximizes these strategies may be another challenge altogether. After all, short of imposing strict rules to manage workers' time and habits, it can be difficult to monitor if employees are following any of these methods.

As a result, it may be most beneficial for workers and employees to maintain a collaborative dialogue in which both sides work to increase productivity overall. While employees can work on bettering their workplace habits, employers can hold up their end of the bargain by providing employees with the tools they need to succeed.

Custom application development might help businesses plug gaps in productivity with beneficial database software. While many software developing companies offer this service, the best take a consultative approach that identifies weaknesses in existing processes and maximizes their strengths.
 

Solving the workplace shopping challenge with database software

Most people find the holiday season to be stressful in some ways, not the least of which involves actually shopping for gifts for friends and family. Many working individuals take advantage of their lunch breaks to cross items off their shopping list, although a new report suggests employees may be taking more liberties with their work time than expected.

The Massachusetts-based IT company Ipswitch reported that, among the businesses that tracked their employee's productivity, 42 percent found that employees were taking time away from important work tasks to finish their holiday shopping. While most companies did not appear to mind how employees used their lunch break, problems do arise when workers are cutting into their productivity by searching the Web for gifts.

Nearly 12 percent had policies in place to restrict online shopping in the workplace, but more than 15 percent of companies said workers spent two hours or more shopping instead of working.

"In addition to lost productivity, online shopping can put additional strain on business-critical network infrastructure, so it is imperative that network administrators are aware of what traffic is flowing around the network," Ennio Carboni, of Ipswitch, said in a press release.

Businesses can exercise administrative power to place certain internet restrictions on their employees, and it is within their right to stress the importance of a productive workplace with workers. The best tool to limit abuse may be to monitor network traffic while also remaining communicative with workers about upholding their responsibilities during this hectic time of year.

In addition, turning to business productivity tools such as database software may ensure that when employees are working, they are able to do so at maximum efficiency. The holiday season can provide many challenges for a business even in the best of circumstances, and as such, custom application development can yield beneficial tools to ensure work is conducted at a healthy rate.
 

Evolving and adapting to new database software

Companies that seek custom application development may initially do so to address a database or procedural weakness in their business, but in some cases they run the risk of simply moving from one unproductive system to another.

That's because sometimes, new database software that is abruptly introduced to a workplace might cause a shift in processes and procedures so sudden that workers have little time to adapt. Indeed, it is possible for new tools – meant to improve a company's productivity – to actually inhibit companies' abilities to grow and change when needed.

"It is hard to learn a new tool and a new process, and teams want to be sure that they don’t let the tool mold the process," consultant Richard Cheng told The Software Development Times.

As a result, before researching software developing companies to create custom applications, businesses should embrace a corporate culture that is open to evolution. If work teams are prepared for a disruption in existing procedures and willing to provide feedback and analysis during the custom application development process, the implementation of new database software might proceed smoother.

The next step is finding a software developing company that exercises a consultative approach to custom application development. Programmers that work in step with clients and are willing to accept feedback may be more likely to create database software that's responsive to an organization's top concerns, but also lightweight enough to be changed when necessary.

These types of software developing companies might also be able to create applications that are more helpful to a wider range of employees, benefiting both those who are highly proficient with new technology as well as those who require a bit more assistance with training and troubleshooting.
 

Managing increasing business costs with database software

For many companies, database software has served as an important provider of workplace information and analytics that can help them make crucial business decisions. If a new survey is any indication, business owners around the country may need to rely on that data more than ever to shape cost-cutting efforts in the year ahead.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released its December Business Outlook Survey, which queried business owners around the country. According to the results, most companies have been faced with higher input costs in the past few months, and many expect that trend to continue into the new year.

In fact, more firms predict their operating costs – which include both labor and non-labor expenses – to increase in 2012 from the previous year, suggesting many business owners are prepared to buckle down for financial challenges.

An analysis of the data by The Wall Street Journal notes that many businesses have been able to find a balance between rising expenses and increasingly frugal consumers by getting the most out of their current workforce. However, the analysis questions how likely it is that companies can continue this strategy in the months ahead, as many workers have already been stretched thin.

At the same time, business productivity technology, such as database software, may provide owners with a clearer view of their operations to determine where inefficiencies may be hemorrhaging finances. With these metrics at arm's reach, managers may be able to make stronger, productivity-focused decisions to reduce needless expenses and run a tighter ship in 2012.

Additionally, custom application development offers companies the tools they need to ensure a more productive workforce. Those who fear their employees' output may be lacking may be able to resist financial pressures by relying on database software as an efficient workplace tool.