Moving from the UK to a new home overseas is an exciting prospect but with many practical challenges and often some barriers. Purchasing or building a new home is one of the biggest challenges and as a result the question of furnishing and decor is often left as an after thought. But if you think about furniture, curtains, blinds, rugs, bedding and so on as part of your overall plan you can transform your new property into your new home.
It is true that you can wait till you are in residence before you start searching local stores for the necessary furnishings. This undoubtedly will allow you to furnish in a similar manner to other local homes, but you will be less familiar with local sources and it may take time and some style errors before you manage to complete the interior decor of your home to your satisfaction.
We’d always suggest that you should immerse yourself in the local environment and community, but when it comes to furnishing and décor you can get the style you want and save money if you source items in the UK and then export it you your new home.
You’ll find that shopping in the UK is now often much cheaper than on the Continent. Particularly with the parlous state of the £ versus the Euro and significant VAT differentials you can find designer fabrics and home accessories considerably cheaper in the UK. If you buy in the UK and export to the EU you will pay UK VAT of 17.5% instead of local VAT which could be as much as 25.5%!
It’s often worth making a dedicated trip back to the UK in order to make big savings. Some expats will fill a hired van in the UK with everything needed in their holiday rental property or their own “home from home”. Since the UK is part of the EU (unlike the Channel Islands or Gibraltar) you won’t have problems with import duty to another EU country. Goods can also be shipped safely with international couriers like FedEx, UPS & DHL.
If your home is outside the UK you’ll benefit from VAT free exports – though you need to take care of local import taxes. But the retail price differentials between the UK and, for example, Dubai, the Algarve, the Côte d’Azur, easily outweigh the cost of transportation & importation.
Many brands that are available in the UK are just not easily available overseas. So if you are seeking familiarity or exclusivity and an affordable solution then it makes sense to source in the UK. For example many designer curtain fabrics are 50% cheaper in the UK than in Europe.
Depending on the location of your new home, you find that you may have very limited choice when it comes to furnishings for your new home. In major cosmopolitan cities you should be spoiled for choice but otherwise you’ll find that Britain offers some of the widest choice at all levels of budget. So if your new overseas home is in rural Brittany, for example, if you want the best possible choice you could go to Paris or you could source from Britain; which would be easier?
English Spoken Here
Have you tried explaining the subtleties of your favourite fabric or paint colour in the local language? Unlike ordering a meal in a restaurant, it’s not a subject covered in many phrase books. Unless you are a linguist, you can avoid misunderstandings by using a British interior designer and supplier.
Peace Of Mind
You can deal with many suppliers in the UK who have experience of supplying goods and services to expats. Look for companies who have experience of making up goods to your specification (e.g. curtains) at a distance. Make sure they can project manage a whole house if you are refurbishing your home or furnishing your home for the first time. And of course check that they can arrange safe delivery. The right company will help you transform your overseas property into a stylish and desirable home whilst saving you time and money.
Tourism is a huge and dynamic industry that is comprised of a wide variety of service businesses that reflect the same dynamics and priorities that a manufacturer would have for operations planning (OP) and supply chain management (SCM). One such service business is the cruise ship sector in which vacationers travel via these types of vessels to various destinations.
While manufacturers produce tangible products and wastes, service companies also produce waste, but their products are intangible. For example, the product that a personal trainer might produce is a healthier client. Operations Managers (OM) in both industries share similar interests in eliminating waste and delivering quality products.
The two main intangible products that the vacationer (end user) buys, and a cruise ship company “manufactures” and delivers, are pleasure and relaxation – the total experience that allows vacationers to “suspend” their everyday reality for a period of time and immerse themselves in pleasurable experiences. The mission of the cruise ship industry is to deliver this experience to them in a way that surpasses their customers’ expectations, and it depends a great deal on the manufacturing industry to make this possible.
Comparable Dynamics and Priorities in Manufacturing and Service
The movement and connection of goods and services from the point of origin, or the original source, to the end user is referred to as “the supply chain”. Supply Chain Management is a part of the Operations Management that involves the effective management of many inter-firm processes such as:
Supplier/Vendor relationship management
Information Systems management
Sourcing and Procurement
Warehousing and Distribution
Environmentally sustainable practices
Just as in the manufacturing industry, in the cruise ship industry it takes the coordination of a variety of resources – financial, material and human – working together to manage these processes in order to achieve organizational goals.
Operations Management involves the management of all the activities that produce an output (a product). In operations management a multitude of processes must be managed in order to produce and distribute products and services. Policies must be formulated; daily operations must be managed, and so must the use of human and material resources. OM also demands the effective utilization of technology and communications systems to allow for timely ordering and delivery of materials and products, and the servicing of customers and stakeholders.
Policies in both the manufacturing and service industry sectors might include social and environmental impact considerations such as the use of resources and the disposal of wastes. Religious, cultural, political and legal issues such as human rights, use of child labor, wage and hours; human resource impact issues such as age, gender and other forms of discrimination must also be considered.
In a manufacturing situation these considerations would impact the goods and services that the cruise industry might use. Some of these goods include foods, linens, toiletries, furnishings, packaging, electronics, fuel, etc. All of these products are outputs of a manufacturing process that a cruise ship might use and all of these products impact the environment from the original source to the end-user.
Organizations in both industries need to develop a sustainability mind-set and identify where waste being generated in their companies and along their supply chains; the reason why and when, at what stage it is being produced.
So, for example, the OM of a cruise line that is socially and environmentally conscious, and who wants to improve their SCM and incorporate a closed-loop method of operation in her organization, might be considerate of the inputs that a manufacturing company utilizes in its production process and in the processes that it utilizes to convert the raw materials into products; the timely deliverance of those products; the quality of customer service after the product is delivered, and the impact that disposal of these products have on the environment.
Likewise, manufacturing companies (whose products the cruise lines use) also wishing to do the same might, in turn, be considerate of the inputs that their suppliers utilize in their operations. As mentioned before, these inputs include – but are not limited to – various impact considerations previously mentioned.
This backward view of the supply chain links the end user of the services of the cruise ship to the beginning of the supply chain – and that includes all the companies that, working backward, might make up the chain to the original source. An original source might be cotton growers and the policies they have in place that might affect the methods that they use to grow, harvest and supply the converters of the cotton.
Questions that an Operations Managers might ask, for example, are:
· Ate the cotton growers using harmful, earth polluting chemicals in growing the cotton?
· Is child labor being used in harvesting?
· Are working conditions safe, and are wage and hours legal and fair?
· Are materials being delivered on time – and if not, what are the reasons that are preventing this?
These questions impact the management of the supply chain and organizations can gain or lose competitive advantage if they do not consider such questions because, in the case of a cruise ship, for example, an enlightened vacationer might hardly be impressed that the soft cotton sheets that she uses on the cruise line were made from cotton picked by children who live in slums and who earn mere pennies a day for back-breaking labor – and are denied an education because of these poor labor practices.
These types of considerations and decisions faced by a cruise line Operations Manager will affect his or her own company’s financial bottom line and will also affect the operations management of their down-line suppliers, as it also would in manufacturing. One can easily see that the considerations and activities of Operations Managers in service industries easily affect supply chain management in their organizations.
Maintaining a Competitive Advantage
Today’s consumers are more sophisticated and keenly aware of the global impact that their actions have on the environment and many consumers already take actions to reduce their “carbon footprint”, that is the contribution to the environmental impact of human beings and their activities upon the planet.
For example, the more waste one leaves behind in one’s daily activities, the larger one’s carbon foot-print. This idea has been capsulized in the term “going green”. Consumers are not only modifying their own habits in order to minimize waste and thus reduce their carbon footprints, but they are also holding corporations accountable for their impacts on the environment. This has put pressure on many corporations to go green by embracing more environmentally friendly processes in their operations.
Cruise ships are like floating cities that can generate as much as “…30,000 gallons of sewage, 250,000 gallons of kitchen, bath and laundry waste water and 10 tons of garbage — each day”. Effectively managing the inputs that create this amount of waste begins with effective management of the supply chain. Effective management of the supply chain begins with effective operations management.
Socially and environmentally conscious organizations that develop a vision and a mission articulating a clear objective to take responsibility for ensuring the sustainability of all inputs that go into their products will have a competitive advantage over those who don’t. So a cruise line, for example, that establishes a culture of “world class supply chain management” into its operational processes can gain significant competitive advantage over its competitors because “supply management directly affects the two factors which control the bottom line: total costs and sales” (Burt, Dobler, Starling. 2003, p. 10).
For example, a cruise ship line that is an early entrant into World Class Supply Management practices will most likely emerge as a leader in the practice and, as such, will stand to hold “40 -60 percent of the market after competition enters the picture” (p. 11). The quality of its offerings will also improve as it utilizes the sustainable goods produced by manufacturers. Since quality usually commands premium prices, this can help firms gain market share. Today, a more informed and enlightened public demand higher quality goods and thus supports organizations that deliver quality.
Additionally, consumers are demanding more and more that corporations go green as much as possible. Building sustainability into the supply chain will improve quality and increase customer satisfaction. Organizations that do not build sustainability into their operations will find that it will cost them more (in the loss of market share) to NOT do so. By building sustainability into their practices early, both manufacturing and service organizations can expect to gain and maintain a competitive advantage.
Finding the right way to outfit your new office can be a very large and daunting task. With all of the different office furniture suppliers around, all claiming that their furniture is the best for you, it can be an even more difficult task. It’s your job to make sure that not only do you get the best possible deal, but you find the right, quality furniture that will be both durable and long lasting.
It’s easy to overdo your new office and spend much more money than is necessary trying to make it look lush or homey. That is why one of the most important questions you should ask yourself when purchasing your new office furniture is “What is the primary purpose of this furniture?” Office furniture does not have to look fancy or bring to mind sweet memories of home. Its main purpose is to be practical, durable, and reliable. An example of this idea can be found in Safco Executive Chairs, which emphasizes all three of these Ideals. Sound expensive? It doesn’t have to be.
It is easy to find low cost office furniture and supplies that will not only fit the office setting, but your budget, as well. After all, there is no need to spend extra money at another store when you can get better quality, longer lasting office furniture with us.
Unfortunately, it’s also easy to over spend trying to keep up with appearances. You should keep in mind that this is furniture for an office, not a home. An office should have simplistic furnishings. A chair should be a comfortable but professional computer chair, not a super-comfortable recliner. A desk should be able to accommodate all of the necessities (monitor, computer, printer, so on), allowing for a small amount of space for personal affects. It does not need to be a glorious oak masterpiece to be admired and handed down for generations.
Filing cabinets and overhead cabinets do not have to be elaborate or “cool”. They simply need to plain and accommodating. The same things can be said about office supplies. Whether you’re looking for post-it notes or fine business envelopes, quality should be your top consideration not the items price. Do they look professional? Do they have enough space? Do they get the job done? Those are the things that matter.
Do not misread the situation. Just because you don’t have to spend a lot of money and keep things simple and professional does not mean that you will end up with junk items. Buying affordable office furniture and supplies just means that you have good, common sense and a wise way of spending money. There are many suppliers that specialize in office appropriate furniture.
Professionalism is important in an office setting, and that’s what office furniture should inspire. It should provide an atmosphere that allows an appropriate amount of comfort for a workplace setting, clean and orderly conduct, and focus on organization. This is very different from the way we choose our home furniture, which we tend to fit around us – our comforts, our likes, our personal identities – which promote relaxation and a laid back atmosphere.
The earliest restaurants were mostly inns that catered to tourists who would stop over during their journeys. Since then, the food service industry has come a long way as commercial enterprises. Adequate changes have been incorporated in the art of restaurant management keeping in mind changing times, demand, needs and tastes of customers. Earlier, restaurant owners did not have to undertake adequate planning as they simply offered a menu based upon available supplies. Nowadays it is unthinkable for restaurants to be unable to provide everything that is printed on a menu card. It is imperative for restaurants to work efficiently by stocking restaurant equipment and supplies to face every customer demand. Restaurant equipment is needed to prepare, store and serve food and beverages.
Restaurant equipment and supplies include products that are needed for food preparation, preservation, storage and consumption. To function competently, restaurants require good management and adequate supplies and equipments. Supplies such as refrigerators, food processors, dishwashers and cutlery need to be maintained and repaired regularly. This will prevent sudden breakdown of equipment that can cause spoilage and result in losses.
Most restaurants have a specific décor and unique furnishing, cutlery, linen, lighting and glassware. These equipments not only help maintain individuality but also attract new customers. Supplies such as refrigerators are used to preserve and stock food and beverage. It is important to ensure that all the equipment in a restaurant function to their full capacity.
Restaurants purchase supplies for sanitation, maintenance, dinnerware and serving trolleys. Other equipment includes heaters, food warming devices and storage units. Cooking equipment such as gas connector kits and hoses, microwaves, pasta cookers, pizza and deck ovens and steamers are used to prepare different dishes. Restaurants impart detailed training to their staff regarding maintenance of equipment and supplies to ensure longevity and productivity.
A restaurant’s management maintains inventories and regular supervision of available supplies. Daily trade analysis allows them to order sufficient supplies that are needed on a regular basis. It is also very important to store perishable supplies properly. There may be strict policies and procedures in restaurants regarding the usage of equipment and supplies, but unless these are implemented effectively, it would be difficult for a restaurant to generate profits.