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Blog posts from August, 2012

Mission Critical Systems: The Internet, "The Cloud", and Disaster Recovery

My mother hates computers and the Internet. Well, that's not entirely true. She just doesn't have any affinity for either of them. She has a laptop which she uses to Facebook-stalk her nieces and nephews, check her email, and on very rare occasions surf the web. I spend most of my working hours using tools on my computer, on the internet, and making misbehaving technology work like it is supposed to.

No Internetz-Big ProblemAs I write this, our office Internet is down. We have been without the Internet for a day and a half now. A technician has been dispatched and he should be here between 9am and 5pm. While we don't have internet, things have ground to a halt.

Within the past year, our shipping partners have deployed online shipping calculators for us to get our own shipping rates or have requested that we send emails for shipping rates. In addition, all of our small package shipments are done online. An electronic request for a truck to come pick up the packages is sent out and the thermal labels are sent to our label printer. Without the Internet, the shipping department is still able to function, but things take longer. The Internet provides efficiences that are greatly missed.

The story is different in the sales department. Internet access for the sales department is absolutely crucial. While our website and email server is hosted off-site, without the Internet, we cannot retrieve any of the emails that we are being sent. As more than 50% of our business comes to us through email and through forms on our website, this is a massive problem. A couple of us have had the email redirected to our Smartphones, but this is an imperfect solution.

The bigger problem is our sales system, SugarCRM. It is currently hosted in "The Cloud" on SugarCRM's servers. While their uptime has been fantastic, we are still unable to access the data without internet service in our office. One of the reasons we went with SugarCRM over other CRM offerings, like Salesforce, is because SugarCRM can be hosted locally. Moving our SugarCRM deployment in house onto our new server is a project I'll be handling in the coming months.

In the grand scheme of things, losing the internet for a day and a half is a inconvenience. What happens when a hard drive dies? We've had two catastrophic hard drive failures in the past five years. The first time, we managed to recover the accounting system and get the user back up and running without the loss of critical data. The second time, Dennis lost 3 months of email and numerous files. Backing up regularly is essential; keeping back-ups offsite can enable you to rebuild your business if there is a disaster at your offices or if someone steals your computers. It is also important to test your back-ups before you need them. If they aren't going to be able to recover your system, they aren't worth having.

Spending the time to check that your mission critical systems are protected from power fluctuations, hardware failures that could lead to data loss, and from the loss due to theft is essential. Just think how much work would it be to rebuild your accounting system if the hard drive failed or was destroyed and you had no back-ups. What would happen to your employees if you weren't able to do the payroll? In the long run, it's cheaper to spend the time and money protecting your systems and preparing for disaster than it is to wait until you actually have a crisis.

Prepare your office for your next internet/power outage. Request your physical copy of our Table and Chair Catalogue and our Tabletop Catalogue Today!

Another New Blow-Mold Folding Table!

6FT NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Folding Table with Adjustable Table LegsAs summer slowly draws to a close, we'd like to formally introduce a table that we've had in the warehouse since the spring. Like our NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Fold in Half Tables, the 6FT NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Folding Table with Adjustable Table Legs are another extension of our incredibly popular line of plastic tables. Currently available in a 6-ft length, 6FT NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Folding Table with Adjustable Table Legs are constructed of the same material as our regular Rectangular Plastic Folding Tabes, but have an an easy-to-use adjustable leg system. The telescoping legs allow the table to go from normal height to bar height in seconds.

For locations without dedicated bar facilities, the NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Folding Table with Adjustable Table Legs can be set up at it's full height to provide a temporary bar. If an additional banquet table is required, simply adjust the legs and your bar is now a normal banquet table. An if later you need a table that's just a little bit higher for task work, you can set the table to one of the two other intermediate heights. This table easily transform to whatever height you need without removeable parts or tools. And no matter the height the table is always stable and sturdy.

6-ft NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Folding Table with Adjustable Table Legs-Tallest Setting 6-ft NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Folding Table with Adjustable Table Legs-Lowest Setting 6-ft NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Folding Table with Adjustable Table Legs-Leg Adjustment Mechanism 6-ft NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Folding Table with Adjustable Table Legs-Underside 6-ft NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Folding Table with Adjustable Table Legs
Click to enlarge pictures.

6-ft NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Folding Table with Adjustable Table Legs are as durable as our normal 6-ft NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Folding Tables and come with the exact same 2-year warranty as our normal plastic banquet tables.

If you would like additional information about the 6-ft NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Folding Table with Adjustable Table Legs, or if you would like to receive a quote, don't hesitate to contact us!

The Importance of Following the Rules...

Speed Limits Enforced by Attack Helicopter

Google Adwords. Organic search results. SEO Services. Tweets. Like Us. Follow Us. Are you LinkedIn? Stick a pin in it?

Working on the website and handling the IT for National Event Supply has forced me to learn about ideas, concepts, and services that have come to the forefront in the past 5 years. When I started using the internet, Larry Page and Sergey Brin hadn't started work on what would become Google. Now Google plays a very important part in the marketing of our products.

On a typical day, I get 2 or 3 emails and 1 or 2 phone calls inviting me to sign up with various SEO Companies. Their pitches are all the same. Google Adwords can be expensive (true). By optimizing your website you can improve your organic search rating (true). If you sign up with our company, we can GUARANTEE that you will appear on the first page of Google (false). In fact signing up with these companies and letting them do their magic can destroy your Google Search Rank and you can quickly find yourself on page 80 or 90.

Google uses secret algorithms to rate pages. Their goal is to provide their users with the best quality results for search terms. Better quality pages, containing unique, relevant, content, from well-respected websites with numerous inbound links appear higher in search results than pages containing no unique, relevant, content, from websites that no one links to. Bad SEO companies will game the system, using "Black Hat" techniques to get you onto the front page. However, if Google figures out that you are gaming the system, you can lose your first page ranking in a heartbeat.

JC Penny found that out when Google discovered they were gaming the system. Suddenly they ranked 71st for terms that they used to be ranked number 1 for. JC Penny is a large company and they were punished for their actions. Don't think for a second that if Google catches you, they won't punish you.

The internet is a marvellous tool for finding information, and it is only natural to want more people to find you when they are searching for someone to help with their next event. It is important, however, to remember the old adage that if someone is promising you something that appears to be too good to be true, it probably is.

And because our SEO consultants say that every blog entry needs a "call to action", please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or are interested in getting a quote for any of our fine products.

Now Opening Our 3rd Warehouse Location- Vancouver, BC

We opened our warehouse in Indianapolis last year in the early spring and with the Douglass group helping our sales efforts from their Indianapolis head office, we have slowly been building our success in the US Midwest market. While the Douglass group have direct sales staff covering Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kentucky and West Virginia, we often ship to many other nearby states.

Now, less than 18 months later, we are growing our Canada/US presence once again. We have been thinking about this for quite a while now and had considered starting earlier this year but were concerned with everything that was happening in Europe. Now 6 months later, not much has changed in Europe (the economy is still as shaky as before) but we have decided it was time to bite the bullet and start warehousing some of our best-selling NES Reliable Plastic Folding Tables, plastic folding chairs and NES Wood Folding Tables in Vancouver.

We regularly get calls from across western Canada and in particular, BC and Alberta. While we get great shipping rates and ship coast to coast across Canada as well as into the far north (and of course throughout the US), shipping from Toronto usually takes a week and many of our western Canada Customers often need the product today or tomorrow. We provide same day and next day service throughout the Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal corridor and have felt this type of responsiveness was also needed for Vancouver and lower mainland area. Shipping to Calgary and Edmonton will be just 2 days (versus the 3 to 5 days it takes from Toronto).

What products will NES be warehousing in Vancouver?

We are starting off with a range of our best-selling NES Reliable Plastic folding tables and folding chairs as well as our most popular NES Wood folding tables. Over time we hope to expand the range to offer most of what we have available in Toronto as far as tables and chairs are concerned and later in 2013 we would like start stocking our popular Quadrato, Ovali and Hotelier dinnerware lines, our porcelain platters and bowls and some of our best-selling cutlery lines.

Our first shipments are arriving into the Locher Evers warehouse with the following expected schedule:

August 3rd

  • 6ft and 8ft NES Reliable Rectangular Plastic Folding Tables
  • 60 inch NES Reliable Round Plastic Folding Tables
  • Tall NES Reliable Round Plastic Folding Cocktail Table

August 8th

  • NES Wood Folding Tables, 4ft, 6ft and 8ft folding Banquet tables
  • NES Wood Folding Tables, 48 inch, 60 inch and 72 inch round folding tables

August 9th

  • NES Reliable White Wedding-Style Resin Folding Chairs (and Black)
  • NES Folding Chair Carts

August 10th

  • NES Reliable Series 3000 Plastic Folding Chairs in Black on Black, White on White, Grey on Grey, and Burgundy on Grey (additional colours will come later in the fall)
  • 72 inch NES Reliable Round Blow Mold Folding Tables

Since we’re doing business with some very large companies in the movement of our products, these arrival date may slip a little. If there is something you are interested in picking up right away, give us a call and we can give you the latest information on when it is expected to arrive into the warehouse.

Where is the warehouse located?

We are warehousing our product with our strategic partner Locher Evers International and their sister company Westcon Terminals. The warehouse is conveniently located in the Annacis Business Park at the following address. This is located at the Alex Fraser Bridge and highway #91 with quick and easy on and off access.

456 Humber Place,
Annacis Business Park
New Westminster, BC
V3M 6A5

How do you order from the New Vancouver Warehouse?

The same as you always do, you can send us an email, call us at 905-795-1667 or toll free at 800-827-8953, or fill out one of our contact forms on our website and we would be pleased to help you. We already have well established relationships with national carriers for shipping and we’ll be able to provide you with even more cost effective shipping options now that we can ship from Vancouver to BC, Alberta and Washington State. For Saskatchewan and Manitoba, we’ll figure out which shipping options (Vancouver or Toronto) are the most cost effective.

Can I pick-up at the Warehouse?

Absolutely, we just need 24 hours notice so we can have the warehouse pull your order and get it ready for pick-up the next day in the afternoon. For larger orders, we’ll need to know the type of vehicle you’re picking up with so we can either have the skid of tables/chairs shrink wrapped or ready for hand loading. Rush pick-ups can also be accommodated but hopefully your customers aren’t always leaving changes to the last minute.

If there are any other questions you have, give us a call or send us an email and we would be pleased to answer your query.

NEW Wing Bowls and Slanted Bowls

Welcome back to the third and final part of our three part blog series on the new porcelain items that we have recently added to our wide range of porcelain dinnerware. In this final installment I would like to introduce you to five new products that are fantastic presentation pieces designed to make your table-top pop. Today, I am pleased to introduce our three new Wing Bowls as well as two new sizes of Sloped Bowls.

11.5 and 13.5 Inch Slanted Bowls

We have offered an 8.5 inch sloped bowl for about 2 years now and when customers found them, we would frequently be asked about the availability of larger-sized sloped bowls. To meet this interest we are now stocking 11.5 inch and 13.5 inch diameter sloped bowls. The three bowls are all part of the same line, allowing you and your customers to mix and match the bowls without having to worry about differences in shape or colour. The larger bowls are perfect for serving bowls for items like salads and rolls, while the smaller bowl is perfect for items like personal salads and condiment serving bowls.

 

8.25, 10.25, and 12.25 Inch Wing Bowls

The wing bowls offer a unique shape that can be used in a variety of applications. Each size is ideal for something different ranging from a small appetiser in the 8.25 inch bowl to a mixture of fruit in the 12.5 inch Bowl. Both the wing bowls and the slanted bowls are made of our highly durable porcelain which makes them great for use in the commercial environments including restaurants, banquet halls, party rental companies, and caterers. The bowls are currently available in 8.25, 10.25, and 12.5 inch sizes, ensuring that you have the right bowl for your customers' needs.

 

If you are interested in more information about our sloped bowls or wing bowls please don’t hesitate to contact us.