Sunset Sail!

Sunset Sail!

This has been a remarkable summer and we enjoyed this event because it pulled together the best and the brightest for an amazing Sunset Sail.

 

Collabor8: Critical Technology Advances in Asset Tracking

Collabor8: Critical Technology Advances in Asset Tracking

We were delighted to host the IFMA Capital Chapter “Collabor8: Critical Technology Advances in Asset Tracking”  seminar!

 

NOS hosted its first event in their new Beltsville office with IFMA Capital Chapter. Guests heard real world stories from Sgt. Brian Lott of PG County Police Department (PCPD) and Jacqueline Bigelow from the Department of Contracts and Procurement (DCOCP). Our guests discussed their success stories of the implementation and use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. RFID technology has been making its way into the facility management industry as an alternative to barcoding of asset inventory and how it provides automation for life cycle management, facilities compliance, and reduces the cost of doing business. Sgt. Brian Lott shared how PCPD uses RFID technology to more effectively track evidence through the entire “chain of custody” process within is large evidence warehouse. Jacqueline Bigelow at DCOCP discussed how she uses the technology to not only track contract files, but also aid in their file review and audit process. The “Collabor8” event was able to show different applications of this critical technology and its advances in asset tracking within the industry.

@ifmacap

 

 

How Office Clutter Affects Your Creativity

How Office Clutter Affects Your Creativity

A recent study by Kathleen Vohs at the University of Minnesota discovered that messiness may actually assist the creative process. Disordered spaces seem to encourage people to think outside the box. In direct contrast is author Marie Kondo’s recommendation that you throw out anything you don’t absolutely love – minimize to the max. Can your office find a middle ground between stifling tidiness and creative disorder?

Organizational expert Brooks Palmer says it comes down to definition: Clutter amounts to the things we keep on our desks that do not serve us – for example, papers or equipment we don’t currently need. He suggests that his clients assess whether each item is something positive. Is it something needed for the task at hand? Is it something for emotional uplift (a birthday party hat, a photograph)? Or is it something that’s been there so long it has become part of the background – negative, because it doesn’t serve the task at hand. If the item isn’t positive, then dispose of it. If it will be needed in the future, store it appropriately.

Palmer’s approach doesn’t advocate minimalism or arranging your books in alphabetical order. Messiness is fine, as long as everything in the mess serves you for the current task. Let the disorder spur your creativity, and talk to a consultant about a high-density storage system for all the “clutter” you need to save for the next task.

 

Photo © Rawpixel – Fotolia

Logistics Management – Legal Air Space for Drones

Logistics Management – Legal Air Space for Drones

Concerns about safety and legalities are restricting the use of drones everywhere, except in one rather surprising place: the great indoors of mega-warehouses.

It’s completely legal to fly drones inside a private space, and logistics experts are putting drones to use inside large warehouses to automate certain tasks. Warehouses are finite spaces, and they can be mapped into drones’ programming for highly accurate flights. With the added ability to read RFID tags, drones can perform the mundane labor-intensive “cycle counting” that maintains an accurate inventory.

Walmart, one of the nation’s largest warehousers, has instituted a pilot program (no pun intended) to automate inventory management with drones. They estimate that a drone will be able to accurately check as much inventory in one day as a human employee can in a month – an impressive improvement in efficiency and effectiveness. And there’s the added factor of personnel safety: warehouse employees don’t have to climb ladders or operate lifts to count inventory.

Indoor drone usage isn’t right for every warehouse and every logistics manager. Ceiling height, interior walls, and racking systems all must be considered before moving to drone automation. And drones themselves are not cheap, particularly when spatial programming and RFID readers enter the equation. But for some businesses, it could be well worth the investment. Consult with a storage professional to see if drones are right for your warehouse operations.

 

Photo © trekandphoto / Fotolia

Facilities Manager or Hostage Negotiator

Facilities Manager or Hostage Negotiator

“Shark Tank” uber-shark Kevin O’Leary said it: “So much of life is a negotiation.” Perhaps you chose a career in facilities management because you’re more comfortable dealing with buildings than with people. But buildings house people, and sooner or later, any facilities manager is going to have to deal with the human factor. Whether you’re discussing the acquisition of a secure high density storage system or simply trying to change a few light bulbs in someone’s office, you can find yourself facing a hostile personality. How do you negotiate to get what you need while keeping everyone happy?

Consultant Andy Raskin recommends getting the contentious parties to the point of “that’s right.” He cites the work of former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, who ran high-profile negotiations in hot spots like Iraq and Colombia. Voss is particularly skilled at active listening – reflecting back a speaker’s words to create affirmation and stimulate them to continue the dialogue. Voss found that when active listeners acknowledged the emotions underlying their opponent’s position, the hardliners felt that their concerns had been heard and understood – a “that’s right” moment. And from that point of respect and understanding, negotiations could be resolved easily.

It’s a technique that works in business life as well as international relations. The next time you’re facing a difficult negotiation, try the active listening style Andy Raskin discusses in his Medium blog. You may find that your proposal is swiftly granted.

 

Photo © Bits and Splits / Fotolia