Why LED?

Why LED?

Well that’s not the real question as I think by now most people are aware of the benefits of LED lighting and the huge energy savings to be made (If not, read this).

The real question is why would a long standing Office and IT Supplies company like us be offering an LED Supply & Installation service?

Well firstly we’re not just an office supplies company, we’re also a facilities management company supplying products for catering, cleaning, janitorial and building maintenance?  So supplying bulbs isn’t new, we’ve been doing that for over 20 years. The difference is that right now high quality low energy LED bulbs are what our customers are asking for.

But installing?

Our LED lights run off AC mains voltage so they can easily replace standard bulbs, but some premises use halogen bulbs that use transformers. It’s a simple job to switch out the halogen for LED and remove the transformers, but you do need an electrician to do it (an NICEIC qualified one).

Well one of our clients wanted to furnish his restaurant with our LED lights, but he didn’t have the time to manage the job. So he set us the challenge of doing the whole thing for him. Now many years ago Stock In Trade’s Imprest  Service started because one of our IT hardware clients set us a challenge (read Our Story). With a long history of problem-solving for our customers, it’s no surprise we said “Challenge Accepted”!

Success

We got together with some NICEIC approved electrical contractors and project managed this task for our customer. We priced up the supply, the installation work, agreed the work schedule – which as a restaurant involved a lot of working at night – started the job.

And we have to say it was a great success! The restaurant was smoothly switched over to LED lighting and they soon started to save money. And we proved once again how invaluable the support we give to our clients can be.

When word got around we ended up project managing a few other customer installations. We recently completed the work on HEAL’S flagship store in Tottenham Court Road, London (photo). It took over a month and involved several floors and many different departments, but it’s finished and looks fantastic. And that’s not just us saying that, the customer thought so too:

“The new lights look fantastic. We’re really pleased we made the change to low cost LED lights. They look great and we save money. Thank you Stock In Trade for a great job.”
Martin Goldsmith, Retail Security and Audits Manager, HEAL’S

Is it any surprise we now we offer this service to new customers?

That’s why LED.

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OnJanuary 23, 2013, posted in: Banners and Information, Our Blog by

Feel good, work better!

You may be familiar with the Best Companies to Work For list The Sunday Times puts out every year. They’ve been running this for over ten years now, and the awards are highly sought after.  So what makes people vote for the companies they work for? A lot of reasons, I suppose (besides the obvious ‘vote for me or I’ll fire you!’).

One reason that struck a chord was put forward by the VP of the Great Place to Work Institute in the US.  During a presentation, Michael Burchell followed up the question, ‘What is the difference between a good place and a great place to work?’ with this sentence: ‘It’s not about what you do, but how you do it.’  A simple statement, but there’s a lot of truth in it, isn’t there?

I really believe in that.  We all spend enough of our time working, so why not make it as bearable and pleasant for everyone as possible? You may have the most stressful or the most boring job imaginable, but the key to surviving and prospering in such an environment is in how you work.  Punitive working conditions and a grumpy boss can really make things an uphill slog for employees who, in turn, almost certainly won’t be working at their best productivity.

A recent hot potato is the use of social media in the workplace. Should you ban people from using Facebook at work?  Are they spending time on personal stuff instead of company stuff?  Well, let’s go back to separating the ‘what’ from the ‘how’.  ‘Thou shalt not use the company’s time for private entertainment’ is not a difficult argument to win.

Most reasonable people would accept that if the company is paying them for their time, they should spend it working for the company.  Not posting updates to friends about booking their next holiday.But still, rightly or wrongly, employees can get demotivated if management issues a blanket ban on Facebook.  Far better for management to enter into reasonable dialogue and agree a policy, thus ensuring that rules will actually be followed.  Why is this important?

Cast your eye over positions vacant pages and what’s the most common quality employers look for?  Humour.  Why?  Because just about every employer knows it’s not just desirable to have a sense of perspective in the workplace, it’s actually fairly essential to the engendering of harmonious relationships.

Sadly I think there’s still a general perception that if you see someone having fun at work, that person is somehow slacking off. But why?  Isn’t it possible to have fun at the same time as you’re working?  By this I don’t mean putting on a clown mask in the boardroom or prank-calling the company CEO (though that was funny).  I’m talking more about the kind of good-natured, positive – even light-hearted – interaction that comes when workmates respect and like each other.  This creates a ‘feel-good’ effect which can which actually increase productivity.

So lighten up people! When you’re happier together you’re bound to get a lot more done.  It’s simple really: Feel good, work better.

But enough of all this. I can’t stay around chatting – its lunch time and I have to get revenge on a colleague by filling his office full of empty boxes.

Will

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OnApril 10, 2012, posted in: Front Page, Our Blog by

Business 2012 Review

With guest speakers including Sir Alan Sugar and Richard Branson, we jumped at the opportunity to be exhibiting at the O2 arena for the much-anticipated Business 2012 show (18th-20th March). There were some obvious teething problems on day one – visitors not being able to register, queues lasting for over an hour and no clear direction as to how to get into the show!  However, things soon got under way…

It took about 10 minutes for us to realise something was very different at this event to all other shows we’ve exhibited at – the temperature! After a few star-jumps and Starbuck’s Lattes, we were distracted from the numbness in our toes by the hustle and bustle of the visitors.  All in all, they were an enthusiastic and optimistic bunch, and we got talking to some great business people!  The other exhibitors were friendly too, always ready with a smile and some sweets to keep us all going.

Every seminar was crammed, and people came away feeling inspired and motivated.  Nigel Botterill, UK serial entrepreneur, seems to have left a lasting impression.  The Q&A session in Indigo with Lord Sugar proved interesting.  Some of the questions put forward weren’t great quality, though, as a result, one of the visitors got escorted out by security!

Yes, we made a few good contacts and it was an interesting experience, but I’m not sure if we’re quite ready to sign up to the next one…  Please give us some feedback of your own experience of the event, good and bad – we’d love to hear some of your thoughts!

Jade

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OnApril 10, 2012, posted in: Latest News, Our Blog by

Join us and Richard Branson at The O2

We’re delighted to invite you to join us at Business 2012 – the 3 day business event taking place at The O2 London on 18th, 19th & 20th of March.

It’s free to come along – and there’s plenty to do at Business 2012.

Come and hear some of the UK’s best-known and most admired entrepreneurs, Richard Branson and Lord Sugar, along with Cherie Blair and 21 other key speakers.   Attend some of the sessions in one of the 8 Workshop Halls or 12 Seminar Halls where you will learn how to expand your business using the latest IT platforms, or discover new routes to funding or how to make the most out of new media channels for marketing your business.

Some of the UK’s leading brands are exhibiting: Google, Nokia, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Regus, Intuit, PayPal…. And us! There are more than 150 exhibitors in total.

We know you’re serious about growing your business and know that you’ll benefit massively from the show.  So come and visit us on Stand No D54 and say hi to the team.  All you have to do is block out a day in your diary and register.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Stock in Trade

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OnMarch 8, 2012, posted in: Latest News by

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How to reduce printer jams

Doesn’t it make you want to scream when the printer jams yet again? Sorting it all out can be such a waste of precious time. So here’s some information which we hope will help remove those headaches.

The most important point to keep in mind is that jams are almost always caused not by malfunctioning machinery, but by the paper itself. So make sure you are using the right paper for the job.

It’s common for specialists in their field to want to overload you with too much information. We’re not about to burden you with the ‘A-Z Guide to Paper’, but it is useful to know why you should use the right paper for the right machine and why you should use ‘laser paper’ for laser printers/copiers and ‘inkjet paper’ for inkjet printers.

Weight or ‘grammage’ is the most fundamental property of paper and is measured in grams per square metre (GSM). Toner-based printers need heavier paper that inkjet printers. Ideally, you want to be looking at something around 200 GSM.

One of the other things worth knowing about paper is that it is almost always two-sided. That’s down to the way it is made, with pulp fibres laid onto wire. The wire-side is rougher than the top side, and that’s what gives paper its friction.

When paper is feeding into a printer you need the sheets to slide across each other the right way. Too much friction and the paper will resist sliding. Too little, and you will get double or multiple feeding in the printer. The experts tell us that friction levels in a ream really do need to be uniform, which may not be the case with some cheaper papers.

Another thing that causes jams is paper curl. Paper absorbs moisture from the air and because it is two-sided, it absorbs moisture at different rates, causing the paper to curl at the edges. Thus, the paper may not go into the printer straight and jams may well be the result. We have experts on hand to give you more technical advice about how to address this problem, but a good quick fix is to turn your paper stack upside down and try again.

If you’re using toner-based machines, remember that laser technology demands higher quality paper with low curl, high brightness and a generally heavier weight. Inklet paper needs to be slightly more porous so that the ink can spread, but not too porous or the ink will mottle. Inklet paper that has been surface treated will give you the good colour definition you need. Multi-purpose paper is a cheaper option, but is designed more for home than office use.

Hopefully this post has shed some light on why printers sometimes play up and how the right paper can help prevent jamming issues. But remember – always get to know the particular needs and demands of your machine. We have access to experts in this field, so if you’re unsure, call us at any time!

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OnMarch 6, 2012, posted in: Front Page, Our Blog by