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We’re about business, pleasure, getting older and everything in between. When something drives us crazy, we’ll write about it. When something is worthy or great…we’ll try to write about that too.

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HR Software to the Rescue

on April 9, 2014 in business

If you’ve ever tried to organize payroll, scheduling or both for a large company with multiple shifts, union and non union employees and different locations, then you know what a nightmare it can be. Let’s look at a few scenarios here.

First, one of your staff members calls in and says that they are sick and you need to replace them for location C. You go into your excel spreadsheet….yes, that is painful…and you try to pull together a list of five staff members you can call. So, you go through this exercise. But when you call Mary, she tells you that she’s not a full union member yet, so she’s not actually able to work in location C yet. Then you call Bob, and he tells you that he’s actually working tonight…he’s covering a shift for Max over in location B. You call Alex and she tells you that she would love to but she just got off of her shift and union rules say that she has to have a minimum of 12 hours before her next shift starts. Finally, you are super happy when you call Sheila and not only is she able to work in location C, but she seems very excited to take the shift. So, you schedule her and you think life is great.


Unfortunately, Sheila had already reached into her overtime pay and this shift would now be paid at double the rate. And now you know why Sheila was so thrilled to take this shift. Unfortunately, your direct supervisor is going to be furious with you because you have totally messed up her budget. And the union is calling wondering why some members are getting double overtime shifts while others are not even getting any overtime shifts at all.

This is a nightmare scenario and one of many that HR staff find themselves in when they don’t have a fully integrated hr software solution. With a proper employee management software, a supervisor would be able to pull up relevant staff to fill a position, they would already be aware of who was eligible to work at a specific location, who was eligible to take the shift so that none of the rules were broken and all budget concerns were being met.

A great hr software system will usually be web enabled and allow for real time updates. So, if staff are covering positions, anyone in HR will know that right away. And if rules are being broken or overtime is being incurred, it will not come as a surprise. In other words, a good system will include hr, payroll and scheduling.

With complex organizations or even just large organizations with multiple locations or multiple kinds of shifts, hr and scheduling can be cumbersome, inefficient and end up costing an organization in time and resources.

The Best Freight Services Take Planning

on April 8, 2014 in transportation

Freight transport is the physical process of transporting commodities and merchandise goods. Shipping by land can be by train or by truck. In air and sea shipments, naturally, ground transport is required to take the cargo from its place of origin to the airport or seaport and then to its destination because it is not always possible to establish a production facility near ports due to limited coastlines of countries.

There are two very common means of land-based freight services transport. One solution is to use long haul or short haul trucking firms to transport the goods or commodities. Of course, this involves securing some kind of an agreement with a trucking company to pick up, transport, and deliver the goods to a specific location. The other solution involves the use of railways to move goods. Freight cars or containers are loaded with the goods, then moved through a network or railways until arriving at their destination.


Traditional manners of shipping like postal delivery and courier services may not be enough anymore especially in the business sector. Modern companies require more options when moving products, goods, and services and all of them would likely require efficient and cost effective techniques of shipping.

Freight forwarders arrange the best means of transport, taking into account the type of goods and the customers’ delivery requirements. They use the services of shipping lines, airlines and road and rail freight operators. In some cases, the freight forwarding company itself provides the service.

Some of the tasks required include investigating and planning the most appropriate route for a shipment, taking account of the perishable or hazardous nature of the goods, cost, transit time and security. Another important thing is offering consolidation services by air, sea and road, ensuring cost-effective and secure solutions to small shippers who have insufficient cargo to require their own dedicated units.

It’s also important to maintain communication and control through all phases of the journey, including the production of management reports and statistical and unit cost analysis. It’s also important to maintain current knowledge of relevant legislation, political situations and other factors that could affect the movement of freight.

Finally, it’s necessary to seek out efficiency savings through consolidation to support sustainability. Reliable capacity for your priority freight is critical. And make sure you have a wide variety of equipment options — from trailers to temperature controlled trucks — to match your specific needs. Of course, freighter services companies vary in size and type. There are those operating on a national and international basis. And then there are more regionalized or specialised firms.

Getting Condo Insurance Right

on April 7, 2014 in home insurance

condo-insuranceOf course, everyone is well aware that our home is one of our most valued possessions. For most people, it ends up being the single largest investment in their lifetime.

There are a lot of things to consider when we purchase a home or a condo and often this list of “to do’s” becomes so overwhelming that we can lose sight of ways and means of saving a little extra (and yes, that means income) for ourselves.

One of the absolute necessities of home ownership is the purchase of home or Ontario condo insurance. Naturally, most lenders require this in order to secure a Canadian mortgage. And despite the fact that this is a requirement, and something that is protecting our investment, more often than not, we spend very little time evaluating insurance, or understanding the implications of the policy we secure.

Eventually, we also end up being a little in the dark about the kinds of savings we can find through our home insurance coverage. In other words, the real challenge ends up being a lack of critical understanding and being able to compare apples to apples.

Take condo insurance as an example. Most condo units are maintained by or operated by a strata. Of course, these strata entities are required to have their own condo insurance for the entire condo property. This has become a very expensive undertaking and strata’s are always under pressure to keep strata fees relatively stable or tolerable. So, how do they accomplish this in an environment where insurance rates continue to escalate?

They do what we do when we want to save on our home insurance. They simply increase their deductibles. This may seem like it’s not a big deal until you get into the details. Some of these strata’s are increasing their deductibles to 20 and 30 thousand dollars. Now, most of us don’t have this kind of money just sitting around for an emergency. In fact, most condo owners are under the assumption that their strata insurance will protect them and their unit in case of a catastrophic disaster.

What they fail to recognize, is that yes, they have some coverage for their condo insurance…but no where near the extent that they believed they did. In other words, they are learning…sometimes in the worst of possible times, that it is them that are in fact on the hook for the first 30 thousand dollars to repair their unit.

Had they been made aware of this detail, they could have easily purchased their own home insurance policy for pennies on the dollar. This policy would have covered the deductible. In other words, they would only need to secure an amount of coverage on their own home policy…in this example, for 30 thousand dollars…and then their strata policy would have kicked in for any amount over this coverage.

Sadly, we hear about these nightmare scenarios routinely on local news casts and in news features in local papers. I know it’s up to individuals to inform themselves, especially about their own finances…but it would make some sense for strata’s to be legally required to inform condo owners that their deductible is “A” and that it is recommended that they purchase their own home insurance coverage to cover their deductible. Not a big thing to ask for but we’re just saying….