Blog Archives

Lessons from the ‘Lockdowns’ for Business

Seeking the ‘new normal’

Most workplaces have seen some considerable disruption over the last year due to the restrictions necessary to deal with the global Covid-19 virus pandemic. Hopefully things are going to get easier over the coming months. But before we race to ‘get back to normal’ (if that’s indeed possible), let’s consider some unexpected benefits we might want to hang onto.

Work is what you do, not where you do it

Commuting has always been a drag. The time wasted driving, not to mention the cost, in order to reach an office in which documents are written, emails are read and replied to, and phones calls are made. Or instead, various ‘productivity’ applications are used. All of which could be done from home. What is needed is a ‘mind-shift’ to recognise that “I’m off to work” can mean engaging in an activity rather than physically travelling somewhere. 

What’s the point of an office?

The broad acceptance that an office is where ‘work happens’ is due to the familiarly of their existence over a number of years. Once upon a time there were good reasons why work had to be so: people needed the facilities they provided, including main-frame computers, desk telephones, fax machines, printers, typing-pools (yes, really – people once didn’t type their own documents!) And memos – remember those ‘internal mail’ envelopes? But now, with laptops and mobile phones and broadband internet, it’s no longer critical to all share the same space.

People ‘like’ keeping in touch

The reality of the office is that it’s no longer a critically functional resource hub, but there are some social benefits over working remotely. It’s a place to meet and greet, share ideas and stories, help each other and generally contribute to high morale. People enjoy discussing last night’s TV or the football. Lasting bonds and relationships are formed, sometimes even being introduced to future partners. Not sure all employers would see this to be their ‘role’; the social side can of course be achieved in other ways. Anyway, flexible remote working offers the opportunity for better work-life balance.

Meanwhile, bosses like collecting their workers in one place as then it’s easier to ‘manage by walking about’. There’s a trust element: how can the staff be really hard at work if they’re not visible, aka ‘chained to the desk’. But following McGregors’s ‘Theory X (authoritarian) and Theory Y’ (participative) style of management, you either micromanage them because they’re not motivated, or trust people to take pride in their work and get the job done. So forcing people into an office isn’t the answer to productivity. Rather, pick the right people, train and support them, give them ownership of their tasks. Let them work where and when they need to. Use performance reviews as a tool (not a chore) to keep on track and set rewarding goals.   

Quantity or Quality

The crazy thing about the 9-5 office culture is people vary between not having enough time to get a job done, and piloting a desk ‘looking busy’, because they’re supposed to be ‘in’. Flexible working on the other hand recognises that people have lives with things that need scheduling from time to time, around varying business demands and commitments. Allowing people the discretion to manage their work-life balance means better motivated and focussed staff who will put the extra effort in when needed. Or else, managers need to take strong decisions on appropriate resources and team composition. Working ‘smarter not harder’ certainly doesn’t mean forcing everyone into an office and making them work all hours.

Meetings expand to fill the time available

It seems like ‘work’ to spend hours in meetings showing each other an endless supply of presentation slides. Discussions often arise involving only a few participants while others wait passively. The reality is very little is accomplished that couldn’t have been better reviewed remotely, in one-to-one conversations or communicated more broadly via team or company-wide bulletins.

Keep your germs to yourself!

Due to the emphasis on ‘attendance’ (perhaps ingrained in people from their school years), there’s often a culture of ‘bravely struggling in’ when ill with a cold, thus almost guaranteeing the sharing amongst all colleagues. Above all else, the pandemic has shown the sense in keeping people separated to reduce the spread of illness. 

Better for you, better for the environment

Not everyone can work from home, and certain tasks can’t be done remotely. But it’s time for a re-evaluation of what journeys are ‘necessary’ and what are the most productive work patterns, both in terms of getting the job done (without sitting in traffic jams for hours) and maintaining a flexible, motivated workforce. Not least because of the unsustainable effect on our planet’s finite resources and impact of climate change due to limitless business activities and excessive travel.

Are you ready for the ‘paradigm shift’?

@YellowsBestLtd we’d be interested to hear your thoughts and feelings about the changes brought about by Covid-19, and how you see habits changing for the future. Will you be rushing back to the office, or reaping new flexibility from remote working? Please get in touch, and let us know how we can help with your continuing business requirements. We look forward to hearing from you.

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International Trading (Post Brexit)

New rules for Business

It’s been an uncertain period leading up to the United Kingdom (UK) leaving the European Union (EU). Now that that ‘Brexit’ has happened, as of 1st January 2021, businesses are having to work out the practical changes having an impact on international trading.

The reality of the situation is that it will take time to fully understand the new rules and what effect they have on imports and exports. Due to this uncertainty, some companies are choosing to curtail international activities, which is having an effect on availability of supply.

So this is a subject that will need to be revisited as experience is gained. What seems likely is that there will be more administration and higher costs.

@YellowsBestLtd has a 5-year history of trading not just within the EU, but globally, and it’s this experience which is helpful in understanding the adjustments needed. Put simply, all import and export business within and beyond the EU is now ‘similar’ in principle in terms of customs and tax, with or without government ‘trade deals’ being agreed.

VAT charging and reclaim in the UK

It’s helpful to first understand how VAT works on a national level. In the UK, it’s charged on the sale of many goods where ‘value has been added’ at a rate of 20% of the selling price. To consumers, that’s just a tax they pay within the total purchase price. For businesses, that element of the sale is ‘collected’ on behalf of the government, totaled and paid quarterly via their tax return. However, VAT-registered businesses are able to ‘claim back’ the taxed paid on their own purchases. The logic being, that when you’re ‘trading’ i.e. buying and selling, the amount of tax due on goods is that relating to the ‘value add’ – so the difference between the tax charged on the cost price and that charged on the selling price. Which of course should be more, if you’re making any kind of profit.     

How VAT previously applied for UK businesses trading within the EU

To avoid the complications of how to ‘settle’ the collection and claiming back of taxes on purchases made between EU member states, an arrangement is in place such that each country is responsible for  their own VAT affairs.  Here’s how charging for VAT works for businesses when trading within the EU:

  1. The goods are zero-rated for VAT, from suppliers that are VAT-registered. This means that the export invoice, stating “intra-community supply”, charges VAT at 0%.
  2. The VAT-registered buyer (importing company) then declares the ‘acquisition’ on their VAT return (in “Box 2”)
  3. The buyer simultaneously also ‘reclaims’ the VAT (included in “Box 4”) on the same VAT return
  4. The logic behind these transactions is that the purchaser acts as both the “seller and the buyer”, for VAT purposes, Hence the transaction is accounted for entirely within one member state, and no funds need to be transferred to or from the tax authorities.  

When these arrangements applied to UK businesses selling goods to buyers in EU member states, a ‘VAT EC Sales List” also needed to be completed and sent to the HMRC.      

VAT and trading globally

Now the UK is ‘outside’ the EU, the ‘intra-community’ arrangement for VAT no longer applies from 1st January 2021. Instead, all international trading follows the same process, for all countries both within and beyond the EU.

UK businesses making global purchases receive an invoice from their international supplier which has no VAT added. But the UK government will separately charge VAT at 20%; this amount needs sending directly to HMRC. Typically, this amount will be collected by the courier physically transporting the goods, and normally an administration fee will be additionally charged for this transaction. If an agreement hasn’t been made with the seller, it is often the case the buyers find they need to pay these additional costs before the imported goods will be released from customs and delivered. Reclaiming of import VAT will then be made via the VAT return as an input tax, following the normal rules for UK-paid VAT. 

Alternatively, import VAT can be accounted for using “postponed VAT accounting” on the VAT-return, which essentially is a similar scheme to the EU “intra-community” arrangement. This requires ensuring that the courier is advised how import VAT will be accounted, so they can complete the customs declaration appropriately.

Similarly, UK businesses selling goods internationally don’t add VAT to their invoices, but are likely to have import taxes added by the authorities in the receiving country. If the buyer has not agreed to include these additional costs within their purchase order, this can mean that the seller needs to settle these charges as part of their cost of supply, typically being charged by the courier used to deliver the goods. The difficulty is knowing in advance what is likely to be charged.

Customs Duty and Commodity Codes

In addition to VAT, businesses trading internationally need to take into account Customs Duty (and for certain products, Excise Duty as well) that may be charged on imports.

For UK businesses, this means checking with the HMRC and specifying the correct ‘Commodity Code’ for the goods, which will determine how much is charged. Unfortunately, there are thousands of such codes, covering all manner of products, so identifying the right code can take some searching.

@YellowsBestLtd typically imports a range of telecommunications spare parts, and can therefore advise that for similar requirements the following is applicable: Commodity Code: 8517620000

Commodity Code: 8517620000

According to the HMRC website, sales of these goods should have no Duty to pay on imports. It’s less clear what may need to be paid on exports since this will vary by country. The ongoing concern is trying to anticipate these costs in advance, but by making an excessive allowance for them can mean an uncompetitive offer, causing a loss of business.    

Your Experiences and Questions

We’d like to hear about your concerns or practical experiences of international trading, both before and after Brexit, within and beyond the EU. Please get in touch, and let us know how we can help with your continuing business requirements. We look forward to hearing from you.

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New Year, New Stock! ‘Dynanet’ Spares

Nokia ‘Dynanet’ PDH Transmission products

For many years, the ‘Dynanet’ family of PDH Transmission telecoms products have well served Public Operator and Private Network Customers across the Telecoms, Utilities, Transport and Public Safety markets with high availability mission critical infrastructure, and indeed some networks are continuing to provide good operational service.

They were first introduced by Nokia over 20 years ago, and were continued in recent years by DNWP. Production of the majority of the product range was ceased in 2019. 

Spare parts for continued operational service

@YellowsBestLtd satisfies world-wide customer product sourcing requirements for current and ‘legacy’ equipment technologies from a wide range of Original Equipment Manufacturers (O.E.M.s).

For the ‘Dynanet’ range, we have recently obtained of a number of additional  refurbished and surplus equipment items. Hence, for those customers continuing to maintain their networks, there now exists the opportunity to increase stocks of spare parts to take advantage of the current availability.

Stocklist of items for immediate supply

Here is a list of the main items currently in stock, though there may be a few additional parts that can be supplied.  Hence, please check and if you do have any requirements, please let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.

Part NumberDescription
CC 24002DB2 2×2 Mb/s Branching Unit (B2), 75ohm
B2
DB2 B2 – CC 24002
Part NumberDescription
CC 24011DB2 2 Mb/s Switching Unit (X2), 75ohm
X2
DB2 X2 – CC 24011
Part NumberDescription
CC 24101DN2 2×2 Mb/s Interface Unit (IU2), 75ohm
IU2
DN2 IU2 – CC 24101
Part NumberDescription
CC 24111DN2 Control Unit (CU), 75 ohm
CG 24170DN2 Bus Power Unit (BPU)
CG 24171DN2 Extended Bus Power Unit (EBPU)
CU 24013Data Interface Unit (DIU) 2M, nx64k: G.703/704, 75ohm
nx64k
DIU nx64k – CU 24013
Part NumberDescription
D-21470Euro Connector, 3×7
3x7
Connector 3×7 – D-21470
Part NumberDescription
D-24204Optical Teleprotection Interface Unit, C37.94
C37.94
C37.94 – D-21470
Part NumberDescription
T31094.01DCN Adapter C4.0
DCNA
DCN Adapter C4.0 – T31094.01
Part NumberDescription
T37870.01NDM 19in 17-slot Subrack
Subrack
19in Subrack – T37870.01
Part NumberDescription
T37871.01NDM DN2 19in 17-Slot Subrack
T37882.02NDM DC Unit (NDUe)
NDUe
NDUe – T37882.02
Part NumberDescription
T37885.01NDM Ring Generator
Ring Generator – T37885.01
Part NumberDescription
T37885.02NDM Ring Generator + DC/DC converter
Ring Generator – T37885.02
Part NumberDescription
T37889.01NDM Backup Unit (NBU)
NDM Backup Unit – T37889.01
Part NumberDescription
T65580.01ACL2i PF GEN Line Terminal Card
ACL2i PF GEN – T65580
Part NumberDescription
TA 21513Optical Line Terminal Repeater (DF2-8), 1300 nm LED MM/SM
TA 21516Optical Line Terminal Repeater (DF2-8), 1300 nm LASER SM
TA 21518Optical Line Terminal Repeater (DF2-8), 1300 nm LASER LP
DF2-8 – TA 21518
Part NumberDescription
TC 21101DM2 Multiplexing Unit, 75ohm
DM2
DM2 – TC 21101
Part NumberDescription
TC 21301DM8 Multiplex Equipment, 75ohm
TC 21705Supervisory Substation
TC 21710.01TMS Adapter
TU 21122.5Data Interface Unit (DIU) 48..64k, V.11, 10ch
TU 21124Data Interface Unit (DIU) nx64k, V.11/V.35/X.21, 2ch
TU 21124.05Data Interface Unit (DIU) nx64k, V.11/V.35/X.21, sync
TU 21125Data Interface Unit (DIU) 48..64k with sync, X.21
DIU X.21 – TU 21125
Part NumberDescription
TU 21205Channel Unit SUB/SUB
TU 21206Channel Unit SUB/SUB
Channel Unit Subscriber / Subscriber – TU 21206
Part NumberDescription
TU 21215Channel Unit SUB/EXCH
TU 21216Channel Unit SUB/EXCH
Channel Unit Subscriber / Exchange – TU 21216
Part NumberDescription
TU 21234.20Channel Unit E&M/VF-P, 10 ch, 20 E&M ch
TU 21236.10Channel Unit 8ch E&M/uP: 1xUKe&m/VF
VF E&M
VF E&M – TU 21236.10
Part NumberDescription
TU 21255.01Channel Switch, 4 port
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Season’s Greetings

It has been an unexpectedly challenging year, unprecedented times indeed!

Unfortunately, it seems likely that we will face more difficulties ahead. The global pandemic still needs to be beaten, and the U.K. leaving the EU will result in unpredictable trading conditions.

Having just celebrated our fifth anniversary, YellowsBest looks forward to continue working with our partners and assisting Customers’ businesses through the uncertain times ahead.

We wish you all the best for a safe, seasonal celebration.

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Happy New Year

Best wishes for 2020 to all our Customers and suppliers from @YellowsBestLtd.

We hope we can be in touch again soon to understand requirements and discuss how we can work together for mutual business benefit.

Looking forward to being of further assistance in an exciting year ahead!


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Merry Christmas

@YellowsBestLtd we would like to thank our Customers for your enquiries and orders throughout this year, as well as our Suppliers for your support.

We’re pleased to have been of assistance providing services and solutions. Now into our fourth year of trading, we appreciate your continued interest and support, and look forward to continuing our business relationship in the New Year ahead.

Wishing a Merry Christmas to you and your family.  

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Solar Power – eCharger UPGRADE

Project Re-cap

Last year’s project, detailed here, built a charger that collected and stored solar energy for use by an eBike, also for charging additional Li-ion or Ni-Cad batteries for other equipment as well as powering LED lights for illumination of the work space.

These 4 main elements were put together to create the solar charging ‘system’: Solar Panel, Charge Controller, Battery, Inverter. The resultant assembly captures energy from the sun via the solar panel, ‘conditioned’ by the controller and stored in the battery. This therefore provides an ‘off-grid’ 12V DC power source, or via the inverter as 240V AC ‘mains’ subsitute.

Experience from use

What wasn’t certain at the time of the project construction was how much energy would be available to be captured (estimates indicated sun 2-3 hours per day, weather and time-of-year dependant), how much could be efficiently stored and what would be needed to charge the eBike (understood to require around 3-4 hours for a full charge) and/or for the other uses. 

It had been assumed that there would be sufficient sunlight during summer days to adequately charge the storage battery, but at other times of the year the energy might be lacking, requiring additional solar panels for more energy generation.

The experience gained from use indicated that more solar panels were not needed, as enough energy was being captured, resulting in a fully charged battery (indicated by the charging stopping, despite it being sunny) when not being used for eBike charging. What was noticed however was that if the eBike had been used for a medium to long ride, requiring moderate to high charging afterwards, that insufficient energy was available from the storage battery to power the inverter (indicated by an audio alarm) long enough to fully charge the eBike.

The resulting conclusion was that the storage capacity was needed to be increased, to capture more sunlight energy to be available for charging purposes.  

Storage Upgrade

It was decided to purchase a second 12V 110AH 800CCA AGM-type battery, of identical make and specification as the original, thereby doubling the storage capacity (although since its advisable to allow for discharge of only 50% of the stated rating, the total energy available is taken to be 110AH). This compares with the capacity of the eBike battery, which is 36V 11AH (400WH).

Twin AGM batteries

It is important to note how additional batteries are added to a solar energy system. The choice is between series or parallel connection. 

Series would result in a doubling of the operating voltage to 24V. This would bring some advantages in terms of lower current rating for wiring gauge with the same power, and a simpler daisy-chaining method of connection. However, this is only possible if the other system components are rated for 24V operation.

For this upgrade, it was chosen to add the additional battery in parallel, thereby keeping the operating voltage at 12V (suiting the controller and the inverter) whilst providing more current. The parallel connection requires the battery terminal connections to be separately wired to the inverter and controller connection points, and for safety an additional fuse was added so that each battery is separately fused to protect against a short-circuit.

Twin batteries and inverter in use

Conclusions

Limited experience to date of the upgraded 2-battery-storage Solar power system finds that there is now sufficient energy available to completely charge the eBike even after a long ride, without incurring a low-energy warning from the inverter.

Charge controller with 2A input

The conclusion is reached that due to the usage pattern of occasional eBike charging compared with the daily solar energy collection, that more battery storage is a more appropriate choice over more solar panel energy generation. This is re-enforced by the fact that on poor-weather days, although there is a lack of available solar energy, the eBike is unlikely to be used, so the energy usage requirements are also low!

eBike fully charged

If will be interesting to monitor the performance of the upgraded system through the seasons of another year.

@YellowsBestLtd we are always looking to expand our portfolio services for #business development and #enterprise support, and increase the mix of solutions for #sustainable systems and maintenance of new and legacy #technologies and products for our customers. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements; we look forward to hearing from you.

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Merry Christmas

@YellowsBestLtd we would like to thank our Customers for your enquiries and orders throughout this year, as well as our Suppliers for your support.

We’re pleased to have been of assistance providing services and solutions. Now into our fourth year of trading, we appreciate your continued interest and support, and look forward to continuing our business relationship in the New Year ahead.

Wishing a Merry Christmas to you and your family.  

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Consultancy Services

A flexible approach to Consultancy provision

It has been a pleasure providing consultancy services to a client who was looking to develop their product sales business. YellowsBest’s approach is to tailor what we provide to meet the Customer’s exact needs. Several stages of activities were therefore established, reviewed and amended before these ‘workpackages’ were acted upon.

Strategy Workshop to identify the requirements

To thoroughly establish and document the ‘needs’,  a relatively informal but comprehensive ‘workshop’ was held.

This included the following key topics:

  • Strategic Requirements
    • Mission Statement
    • Objectives
  • Capture of Market Provision
    • Markets Classification
    • Customers
    • Vendors
    • Competitors
    • SWOT
    • PESTLE
  • Strategy Development
    • Portfolio Development
    • Action Summary

This produced the ‘framework’ for the consultancy provision and provided an invaluable tool for measurement of progress toward the goals which were documented as part of this process.

Undertaking key tasks to assist Strategy implementation

A number of tasks were undertaken on behalf of our client in order to assist with the putting into action of the documented strategic aims:

  • Identification of desired Product Portfolio
    • Suitable Technologies
    • Appropriate Vendors
  • Liaison with chosen Vendors
    • Initial approach
    • Arrangement of introduction meetings
  • Creation of Marketing Material
    • Content for Website
    • Production of Brochures
  • Business Development
    • Sales Prospects and Customer enquires
    • Technical Solutions and Quotations

Naturally, the implementation and development of a sales Strategy is a long-term undertaking, and YellowsBest is able to provide ongoing support to its clients with the assistance they need, as and when required, in order to ensure long-term success.

Summary of assistance YellowsBest can provide

YellowsBest is able to assist companies by providing consultation advice for a wide range of initiatives, such as:

  • Creation of Business Plans for identifying markets, customers and strategic propositions
  • Sales Strategy formulation for the generation of prospects and reaching customers via direct and channel approach
  • Assistance with key sales and business development tasks, including customer enquiries and presentations, liaison with vendors, attendance at industry events and content creation for websites and marketing initiatives
  • Performance Measurement analysis to understand success ratios and identify corrective actions to improve utilisation of resources and optimise business efficiency

YellowsBest is able to provide its consultancy services on an ad-hoc day-rate basis, or as a more structured project-delivery, over a number weeks or months as appropriate.

YellowsBest can also provide a range of other related Management Services, including Account Management, Bid Management, Business Development, Channel / Vendor Management, Commercial / Contract Negotiations, Sales and Marketing, Solutions Engineering and Training.

Please contact us to discuss how we may be of assistance to your organisation.

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Vero Trivolt PSU – ‘product of the month’

TRIVOLT AC/DC-converter Power Supply Unit

Manufacturer: Vero

Model Number: PK60A

Product Code: 116.010018J

Description

60 to 120 Watt switched mode AC/DC plug-in power supply with three outputs in 3 U Eurocassettes for use in 19” subracks to IEC 60297-3.

  • 3 high stability outputs, all adjustable
  • √  Safety approvals to UL, cUL and EN 60950
  • CE marked for compliance to EMC and Low Voltage Directives
  • SENSE-operation (5V output)
  • Overvoltage protection (OVP)
  • Powerfail signal optional
  • No-load and short circuit proof
  • Coded H15 connector
  • VERO standardised pinning

Specifications

  • nom. height: 3U
  • nom. width: 8H
  • nom. depth : 160mm
  • output power: 60W
  • voltage outputs:
    • V1: 5V/6A
    • V2: -12-15V/1A
    • V3: -12-15V/1A

To purchase, contact us.

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