UK businesses wasting over £600m per year keeping dormant companies open • 681,000 UK companies currently dormant and costing owners money • Businesses urged to clean up unused subsidiaries to save money Q4 2022
Editor’s letter. Welcome to our Q4 issue of The Business Concept. The Business Concept is dedicated to providing you with the latest, most intricate visions from across the business landscape. Globally, there is an endless amount of support for business development – and The Business Concept is here to showcase the solutions and assistance being provided around the world. The festive season and new year are a time for joy and recuperation, but also reflection. It is a time for firms to review what went well, what didn’t go so well, and how they can keep exceeding expectations. It is a time to celebrate the successes and to make plans for the bright future ahead. In this issue of The Business Concept, we focus in on what businesses could be doing better in order to achieve their full innovative potential as they head into a new year, whether it’s investing in training in the use of new technologies; improving the workplace culture for employees; navigating the recession; and more. We also take the opportunity to showcase award-winning full-service transportation company, ITF Group, and air and sea logistics company, Eagle Air. These businesses are truly setting the example for their industries, boasting cutting-edge technology and teams with next-level expertise and passion for what they do. Now as we enter the new year, the ever-evolving business world will continue to develop, innovate, inspire, and succeed – and we look forward to welcoming you back for more stories in our next issue. In the meantime, everyone at The Business Concept magazine wishes you a merry Christmas and prosperous new year. Rebecca Scotland - Editor
Contents 4. News - Technology training lacking for over half of manufacturers - UAE Space Agency and Amazon Web Services sign agreement to support long- term growth in the region’s space ecosystem 6. ITF Group: ITF Group – Achieving Excellence in Transportation 7. Bespoke Content ‘Quiet Quitting’ is a Symptom of Systemic Issues 8. Eagle Air Sea Services Pvt. Ltd.: Euro-India Air Freight Logistics Experts of the Year 2022 – India 10. UK aerospace and defence companies set to innovate out of incoming recession, reveals research from ForrestBrown 11. UK businesses wasting over £600m per year keeping dormant companies open 12. 63% of businesses fear that their IT estate cannot support the hybrid workforce 13. Sales Talent provides practical business tips for 2023 as UK faces “prolonged” recession 14. Investment is positive, but supply is critical in the race to electrification 16. Why we still need to keep Business Rates High on the Government’s agenda
News. 4 Technology training lacking for over half of manufacturers. Over three-in-ten decision makers have doubts about skills in automation and robotics. Over half (55%) of manufacturing decision makers admit that their organisation is failing to invest in training on the use of new technologies. This is according to research findings by Visual Components, polling respondents in the UK, US, Germany and France. To add to this concern, almost a third (32%) don’t believe that the majority of their workforce are skilled in using automation and robotics in the manufacturing environment, reflecting the potential consequences of not prioritising training programmes. However, 71% are at least fairly confident that their business has embraced Industry 4.0 concepts such as automation, artificial intelligence and real-time data, while 72% believe their current solutions allow workers to be at the centre of the production process, suggesting a level of misplaced confidence among business leaders. The need to better utilise technology in the manufacturing environment is highlighted by the mistakes that are currently being made on the factory floor. As many as 24% of decision makers cite low flexibility for different jobs with a robot, poor layout design (20%) and a wrong focus point (16%) as some of the key errors made. Although Industry 5.0 practices are already being adopted in the industry, only 18% of decision makers say they have a very good understanding of the concept, while only 29% have made significant or good progress in their digital transformation roadmaps, which is critical for Industry 5.0 progress. Decision makers do believe however that automation and robotics is the most important to build or redesign the factories of the future (29%), highlighting the importance of eradicating errors and increasing efficiency as new robots are incorporated. “Many manufacturing organisations are failing to invest in the right technology and associated training to support employees. Simulation software can for example reduce the likelihood of mistakes when implementing robotics and/or automation, and will help build understanding of Industry 5.0 concepts as the factories of the future are designed and the Industry 4.0 era comes to an end,” said Mikko Urho, CEO at Visual Components. Although over eight-in-ten (85%) manufacturing organisations currently use simulation software or have plans to do so in the future, less than one-in-five (18%) state that it is easy-to-use for all employees, further highlighting the importance of choosing the right solution and integrating effective training for staff.
5 News. The UAE Space Agency and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have signed a Statement of Strategic Intent and Cooperation to support the creation of a vibrant, sustainable, competitive, and innovative space sector in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE Space Agency is responsible for the development of policies, strategies, and places related to the space sector. The Space Agency works closely with research institutes, industry, and fellow government agencies to build relevant space capabilities and support the long-term growth of the space ecosystem in the country. Through this cooperation, the AWS will collaborate with the UAE Space Agency and related UAE government space organizations and institutions on three specific initiatives, The Space Industry Development Program; Talent for Space Program; and Open Data Sponsorship Program. The Space Industry Development Program focuses both on the growth of existing commercial space organizations as well as the promotion of an environment conducive to new entrants like space startups. This initiative is set to provide them access to AWS Activate and the AWS Founders program, both designed to provide startups with AWS credits, technical training, and business support. In addition, this initiative will provide UAE commercial companies, startups, universities, and civil and government entities access to AWS experts. As for the second initiative, The Talent for Space Program, it includes outreach and training designed to support talent development for the space industry in the UAE, particularly with regards to cloud computing and big data. Specifically, AWS will offer related research institutions with the ready-to-teach Cloud Career Pathways curriculum. The Open Data Sponsorship Program initiative will encourage collaboration among the UAE space and research community through the sharing of data sets on AWS related to space data-driven initiatives such as space surveillance and space situational awareness programs. H.E. Ibrahim Al Qasim, Deputy Director General of the UAE Space Agency stressed the importance that the UAE Space Agency attaches to international cooperation between the public and private sectors in the field of space. Space is the next frontier of business growth set to propel the national economy for the next 50 years. The strategic intent agreement will support creating a competitive private sector, build national capabilities, promote public-private partnerships, boost R&D and encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship. Al Qasim said: “We have talented national cadres who are capable of innovation and creativity to achieve the best results and continue the country’s march of achievement in the space sector. This agreement with Amazon Web Services comes as a part of our objectives and goals in provide our national talents, startups and SME’s with best skills and learning programs, in addition to enable companies working in this sector with best applications and facilities.” “This agreement focuses on providing commercial and public space companies, and young professionals the technical tools and resources they need to be successful for the long term,” said Wojciech Bajda, Director, Public Sector Middle East and Africa, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “We look forward to working together on these initiatives as the UAE Space Agency continues to make UAE Space Agency and Amazon Web Services sign agreement to support long-term growth in the region’s space ecosystem. important contributions to science and the global space industry and support the growth of the space sector.” Bajda noted: “This year we announced that the AWS Middle East (UAE) Region is now open. We have a long history of working with customers in the UAE, with many having used our services from the early days of AWS, including some of the region’s leading and most innovative enterprises and startups.” The new UAE region give customers in the UAE more choice and flexibility through local access to the most advanced cloud technologies, enabling them to store and process their data locally with the assurance that they retain complete ownership of their data and control over the location of their data. AWS also released data highlighting the economic impact of the new region. AWS estimates that the new AWS Middle East (UAE) Region will support nearly 6,000 fulltime jobs annually at external vendors through investment of AED 20.1 billion (US $5.47 billion) with an estimated economic impact on the UAE’s GDP of AED 41 billion (US $11.16 billion) over the next 15 years.
ITF Group – Achieving Excellence in Transportation Today, ITF Group is a multicultural organisation that specialises in full truckload (FL) and less-than-truckload (LTL) options across the USA and Canada. Once a rather humble one tractor-trailer family operation, ITF Group has grown exponentially to include over 1,000 trucks and 15,000 contracted carriers. Over the last ten years, CEO Sam Burkhan has secured organic growth and achieved scalability, alongside adapting to the latest technological developments to exceed client expectations across the board. Creative Director Annamarie Aveytia spoke to Business Concept about Burkhan’s leadership, and ITF Group’s drive for constant improvement. “While ITF Group was founded to offer transport solutions, Burkhan recognised the needs of his customers and expanded ITF Group to incorporate warehousing and fulfillment services. In July of 2019 he purchased a 107,000 square foot facility in Hazelwood, Missouri. Fully remodeled and optimised for expansion, he consolidated a small office in St. Charles Missouri with 10-15 dedicated employees to 40 U.S. based employees. “We’ve also modernised our warehouse and fulfillment centers by investing in robotics for our new 100,000 square foot fulfillment center. We’re able to drastically reduce our operating costs and increase capacity and pass those savings back to our customers as well as invest in our industry with enhancements to our fleet and our technology. We are constantly reinvesting our profits into newer, more efficient technologies to not only streamline the process for our company but our customers as well.” It would be an understatement to say that the greater global transport industry has been impacted by a need to invest in greener, more sustainable options. In this, ITF Group has endeavoured to be a pacesetter, rather than trail behind the latest developments and trends in this space. “We offer our customers the newest fleet equipment we can provide. By upgrading to newer fleet models, we can provide the greenest fuel driven trucks. By reducing emissions, we strive to enter green solutions for our customers. We also work closely with local recyclers to reduce waste from reverse logistics,” Annamarie adds, before continuing. “We have a team who monitors these trends daily, in addition to the latest regulatory changes. We want to know if there is a market fluctuation the minute it happens. Our team in in constant communication with the Department of transportation for any state we operate in, which includes all 50 states and Canada. We provide educational training for upcoming roadside inspections and relay that information to our drivers in a timely matter.” All of this has cemented ITF Group’s position as a leader in the North American transport market, known for setting best practices and being the benchmark for others to follow. Naturally then, its future is one of growth – with further growth on the cards before the end of the year. “We plan to close out the remainder of 2022 with a bang! We just received FDA approval for our newest warehouse and plan to operate a full service pick and pack fulfillment center. We are reinvesting Founded in 2012, ITF Group LLC (ITF Group) has cultivated an incredible presence in the freight shipping space. Following ITF Group’s recognition in the 2022 Logistics, Warehouse and Supply Chain Awards as the ‘Most Flexible Secure Transportation Company’ in Missouri, we took a closer look to find out more. our profits into robotics for our fulfillment center along with placing deposits on electric trucks to further push our green initiative.” ITF Group also have a strong ethical centre, and frequently engage in philanthropic pursuits to enrich the local community, as Annamarie explains. “ITF Group donated over 300lbs of nonperishable food items to The Kaufman Fund Food for Vets that supports Veterans in need in our local community. This program, which focuses on addressing food insecurities specifically for Veterans has been able to help thousands of Veterans and their families. Each Veteran that participates received enough food to support a household for 10 days. The goal is to have each Vet return when needed after they registered at an event. With ITF Groups donation the food drive in 2021 was the most successful event held and has grown to over 400 registered Vets.” Company: ITF Group Contact Name: Annamarie Aveytia, Creative Director Address: 11990 Missouri Bottom Rd, Hazelwood, Missouri 63042 Website: www.itfgroup.com Contact [email protected] Telephone Number: 877-477-9677 Oct22472
6 ‘Quiet Quitting’ is a Symptom of Systemic Issues. ‘Quiet quitting’ is a term that has been flaunted extensively in the media in recent months. Much of the coverage paints a picture of employees being entitled, lazy, or unwilling to go the extra mile for their employers. But with pay stagnating, burnout rising, and job instability increasing, why should employees want to work unpaid overtime or commit to a toxic work culture? It is abundantly clear that the term ‘quiet quitting’ is at the core of a systemic issue; one that requires attitudes at the highest level of businesses to change. However, as employers retaliate with ‘quiet firing’ – a term that has recently gained traction – it appears that this evolution is perhaps out of reach. Indeed, ‘quiet firing’ is a reincarnation of Constructive Dismissal. It is a tactic that strives to push undesirable employees out of the business through providing them with the bare minimum – this could mean passing over them for promotions, ignoring them, reducing their hours, or phasing them out of company activities. It is pushing people out of their jobs, forcing them to give up their means of income during a major financial crisis. It would be right to argue that this is a much more serious and real problem than ‘quiet quitting’ and could even be the catalyst for such a movement. If employers view their teams as replaceable, fail to pay them in accordance with the job expectations, and effectively exploit their staff’s time and abilities, then they should absolutely expect their team to psychologically remove themselves from the unstable working environment. Employees cannot be blamed for wanting to do their jobs as written in their contract. ‘Quiet quitting’ is a falsity; it is a symptom of an ingrained issue that will not change until leaders reassess their attitudes and expectations of workers. Despite what the name implies, ‘quiet quitting’ does not involve quitting a job. Simply, this term has been coined to describe the current movement of employees disengaging from intense workplace cultures and only fulfilling their contracted tasks and hours. Popularised by social media, this ‘trend’ has been in the making for years due to the rise in workplace-related mental health issues, burnout, a lack of support, and stalling pay. ‘Quiet quitting’ is, in essence, a term used to describe people doing their jobs as stated in their contracts. It is disparaging, juvenile, and highlights the immensely toxic culture enforced by many corporations and business leaders. Moreover, it showcases the catastrophic lack of concern from employers surrounding the global workplace mental health crisis and the cost of living crisis, both of which are currently at the epicentre of the ‘quiet quitting’ debate. A 2019 study promoted by Forbes shows that this movement should come as no surprise to organisations. Three years ago, over 79% of employees involved in the study reported feeling mild, moderate, or severe burnout, with these employees being 63% more likely to take a sick day. Moreover, O.C. Tanner’s 2023 Global Culture Report uncovered that 50% generalists feel that their contributions are overlooked and that only 44% rate their employee experience positively. Moreover, wages are not rising in accordance with inflation, emphasising the UK’s current cost of living crisis. As noted by the Economics Observatory, the most recent data suggests that earnings are increasing by approximately 4% per annum, which is far below the current rate of consumer price index inflation. Consequently, it could be said that wages are falling, as people’s pay is rising slower than the increase in prices. This is supported by data from TUC, who state that ‘workers are suffering the longest and harshest pay squeeze in modern history.’ By taking control of their work lives and maintaining a healthy and sustainable work/life balance, workers are highlighting that enough is enough. There is an inherent problem with the current attitudes surrounding work – people should not be working more than necessary for no pay, and this should not be a requirement for progression or recognition. People should not be overexerting themselves – mentally or physically – for a job. May21079 7. Bespoke Content
Euro-India Air Freight Logistics Experts of the Year 2022 – India. Engaged in all aspects of freight forwarding, Eagle Air Sea Services Pvt. Ltd. has not only become one to watch in the industry, but it has grown to be one of the leaders in the market today. Managing and protecting freight from all around the globe, Eagle Air has constructed an unbreakable bond with clients through means of “transparency, sustainable rates, nominal margins & a goal of long-lasting, “all weather” business.” When Eagle Air sets out to do something, it always follows it through to the end. Sriram says, “Our focus is very specific and not scattered. When we pick an area of focus, we see it through to the end without diverting our attention.” There for clients from all walks of life, Eagle Air is not simply an upcoming logistics service provider, but it is our cover of the Logistics, Warehouse and Supply Chain Awards 2022 – and we couldn’t be happier to present its innovative ways to you. Beginning in mid-August 2007, before it took off into the atmosphere in September, it started as a small, modest, yet impactful provider of peace of mind. With such humble beginnings, it is clear to see how it has made it this far. Eagle Air has never been out to grab as much money as possible and it has always worked its magic at fair rates – so as to give everyone the same opportunities for unbeatable service. It works hard to do everything ethically, fairly, and with a lot of heart and soul poured into its every move. Eagle Air promotes its corporate social responsibility through its every action, and does this because it believes that everyone should be responsible, ethical, and respectful of the planet and its inhabitants. Its dream, and vision, is to be the most dependable and genuine logistics partner in India so that it may cultivate growth and sustainability for locals – increasing the livelihood of the population. Not only this, but as an extension of this, Eagle Air supports its global clients in a way that encourages their growth and prosperity – making for a more affluent and successful world. Covering all incoterms, Eagle Air’s air sea freight services are making a huge impact on the world we experience every day. For all import and export products via international freight forwarding services, Eagle Air meets our needs in a quick, economical, and client-centric manner – freeing up time and headspace for each of its clients. Since the beginning, Air Sea Service has earned a status in the industry. All clients need to do is ask for its aid and it will provide. Eagle Air promises results they want and deserve, and delivers right on time. Its air services are all door-to-door, door-to-airport, and airport-toairport services that will be carried out in a precise manner, so as not to miss anything. In addition, it offers unique shipments such as large machinery or part/full charters as well as its ad hoc services as a whole. Eagle Air Sea Services Pvt. Ltd. was established in September 2007 as a highly advanced freight forwarding company with expertise in air and sea freight, import and export consolidations, and customs clearance. Its specific focus on the Italy air and sea import trade line, in line with the rest of the world, has grabbed our attention. Here we speak to Sriram Girish as Eagle Air wins this excellent accolade. With a full range of maritime freight forwarding services, Eagle Air offers traditional yet original ways forward for those looking to transport overseas. It works with all countries and areas of the world, making sure to fully document everything correctly and consistently. For warehousing, cargo carting and packing, lashing, customs clearance, cargo consolidation, and much more, Eagle Air connects goods from one place to another with ease and accuracy. It doesn’t matter what size, shape, or weight your shipment is, whether it’s dimensional or over dimensional, LCL or FCL, special equipment to bulk, liquid bulk, dry bulk, containerised box, or tank, Eagle Air has “Eagle Air follows in the footsteps of its founding father Mr. C.S Girish (September 27th, 1954 - June 7th, 2020), seeking to continue his glorious legacy of complete compliance with the legal framework. His family members Mrs. Saraswathy Girish (spouse) & Mr. Sriram Girish (son) are white-collared tax payers, as is the company itself, something Mr. Girish was very particular about. The company is also AEO certified & believes strictly in ethical business. Today, Eagle’s biggest challenge is to be worthy of its founding father, chairman emeritus Mr. Girish & carry forward his legacy without a single blemish.” Nov22262
9 Euro-India Air Freight Logistics Experts of the Year 2022 – India everything covered – anything is possible. Eagle Air’s services include, but are not limited to: • Rate analysis • Carrier selection and booking • Weekly scheduled arrival & departures using reputed carriers • Containerization arrangements • LCL, FCL consolidation • Multimodal arrangements like AIR/SEA & SEA/AIR Combinations • Buyers’ Consolidation • GOH Handling • Inland Trucking • Door-to-Door service • Electronic Entry of Export / Imported Goods • Local Transport and Deliveries • Shipment Monitoring and Status Reports • Tariff Classification Advice • Duty Drawback Calculation • Quarantine Formalities With its free quotes available on request to top it all off, Eagle Air has made itself a friend of anyone looking to do business with it. Its team is there for you any time, any day, so that you may feel at ease when looking for the best way to transport your goods. Its staff members are productive and always let their true selves shine through everything that they do. Sriram adds, “We have a training system in place to provide adequate opportunities to trainees and bring them to required levels in no time. It is the intention of the employees that matter to us – we take care of the rest.” Looking to the future Sriram tells us, “On a long term basis, we wish to expand across continents first to the United States and then subsequently to Australia. But until 2025, we see ourselves being confined to India, first spreading our wings to Delhi and then subsequently Mumbai, hoping to replicate our success in Chennai and Bangalore in Delhi and Mumbai.” Not only is Eagle Air well on its way to working with these areas of the world, but Eagle Air owners will be looking to donate 100% of what they earn – in addition to existing donations – to the Girish Foundation so that schools and hospitals can be set up by the Girish Foundation after 2025. From its very beginning all those years ago, Eagle Air has an excellent performance record of being honest, reliable, and always on time. It is this dedication that has truly caught our eye when awarding it with Euro-India Air Freight Logistics Experts of the Year 2022 – India, and we are sure to see it flourish even further in the years to come. Congratulations to the entire team at Eagle Air Sea Services Pvt. Ltd. Contact: Sharanya Lakshmi Narasimhan Company: Eagle Air Sea Services Pvt. Ltd. Web Address: http://eagleair.in/about-us.html
UK aerospace and defence companies set to innovate out of incoming recession, reveals research from ForrestBrown Research by ForrestBrown, the UK’s leading research and development (R&D) tax relief consultancy, shows that aerospace and defence (A&D) businesses are set to innovate their way out of the looming recession to fuel future growth. It found that over half (59%) of A&D companies invested more than £500,000 in innovation in the last year with this showing no signs of slowing down despite the impending economic recession. In fact, the survey revealed that 56% of A&D companies anticipate increasing their investment in innovation should a recession occur in the next year, rather than tightening the purse strings. This echoes the strategy the sector adopted post-Brexit, when the survey shows that 48% of businesses increased their investment in R&D, responding to economic uncertainty by embracing innovative ways of thinking to explore new products and services. Factors including the imperative to reduce the environmental impact of flying have made innovation an ongoing priority. This is reflected in the specialist personnel employed across the industry, with 30% of A&D companies having between 11 and 300 people on the payroll to drive their innovation strategy. Sara Brigden, Managing Director at ForrestBrown comments: “The UK’s aerospace and defence businesses have been at the forefront of innovation for a long time, consistently delivering gamechanging technological advances. Despite the economic tides turning, it’s encouraging to see firms increasing investment in innovation to maintain this track record.“ • Over half (59%) of aerospace and defence (A&D) companies have invested more than £500,000 in innovation in the last year “The UK’s aerospace and defence businesses have been at the forefront of innovation for a long time, consistently delivering gamechanging technological advances. Despite the economic tides turning, it’s encouraging to see firms increasing investment in innovation to maintain this track record.“ Jan22376
UK businesses wasting over £600m per year keeping dormant companies open UK businesses are wasting more than £600m each year on keeping unused ‘dormant’ companies open, says Mazars, the audit, tax and advisory firm. There are currently 681,000 companies in the UK that are currently registered as ‘dormant’ with Companies House – meaning it is not currently trading or generating any income. Keeping a dormant company open costs at least £900 per year in audit, accounting and • 681,000 UK companies currently dormant and costing owners money • Businesses urged to clean up unused subsidiaries to save money compliance costs. This figure could be even higher if the company is required to file a tax return with HMRC. Listed companies alone have 18,700 dormant UK subsidiaries, costing around £17m in fees to keep open each year. One major UK bank has 256 dormant subsidiary companies. Simon Chandler, Partner and Head of Restructuring Services at Mazars, explains that removing these unused companies can cost little more than keeping them open for a single year. This one-time cost can save many thousands of pounds in future audit, accounting and compliance costs. Chandler adds that many corporates would benefit from undertaking ‘corporate simplification’ projects to close down these dormant companies and avoid wasting money. He says that for companies with a large number of dormant subsidiaries, the cost of closing them down in bulk can in fact be lower than the cost of keeping them open for another year. Closing down dormant companies can also be a useful way to control risks. There have been cases where historic legal claims have arisen against a dormant company, triggering even more avoidable costs for its corporate owner. Simon Chandler says: “There are businesses that are wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds each year on dormant companies.” “The value they get from these companies is almost certainly zero – there is only a relatively small number of cases where a dormant company genuinely needs to remain open.” “Companies generally put off the exercise of removing companies no longer needed within their group to deal with more pressing matters but cleaning up unused companies should be a standard part of corporate ‘housekeeping’ for businesses. It’s a quick and low-impact way to save costs and reduce risk.” Jan22194 UK businesses are wasting more than £600m each year on keeping unused ‘dormant’ companies open, says Mazars, the audit, tax and advisory firm.
12. 63% of businesses fear that their IT estate cannot support the hybrid workforce. Research finds current IT setup is preventing effective collaboration, putting remote workers at a disadvantage and driving up cyber risks. in-five businesses (19%) have an end-of-life plan for their devices to improve security among the hybrid workforce. All of these solutions are a necessity for organisations to continually safeguard against cyber-attacks. This lack of technology adoption is culminating in organisations being unable to attract new talent, with 45% saying that offering the latest technology/devices is their top strategy to convince staff to join the business. Additionally, 26% say that ensuring access to high quality/reliable IT solutions is a top priority for attracting and retaining talent. “Businesses are ultimately failing to invest in the technologies that meet the needs of today’s workers. Hybrid strategies are now becoming the norm post-pandemic, while the digitally savvy generation is making up more of the modern talent pool. By not addressing these issues, including the improvement of device security, organisations run the risk of poor morale among staff. This will raise the likelihood of people departing the business and affect the ability to attract new talent,” said Aurelio Maruggi, CEO of Apogee. The potential for staff departures is likely to place further pressure on organisations which are already struggling with skilled staff shortages. Over a quarter (29%) say that their employees are stretched across too many monitoring responsibilities due to the shortages and a quarter (25%) recognise that slow resolution of IT issues is also frustrating their staff. Almost two thirds (63%) of IT directors are not very confident in their IT estate’s ability to fully support the hybrid workforce, but over seven-in ten (71%) of organisations are not placing IT investment at the top of the priority list. These are among the findings from new research undertaken by managed workplace services (MWS) provider, Apogee Corporation. Due to limitations with the current IT setup, 89% of respondents identify that it is preventing effective collaboration, with almost half (48%) admitting that remote staff don’t have access to the same solutions as office workers. This is despite the top expectation among the workforce being the ability to collaborative effectively with technology, as cited by almost two fifths of respondents (38%). The opportunity to work flexibly is the second highest expectation (31%). With remote workers at a disadvantage, security is also creating further concerns for the modern workforce, as a quarter (25%) reveal that security challenges with remote and hybrid working are affecting IT transformation progress. Businesses are also neglecting to secure the hybrid/remote workforce, with just 14% citing it as a top priority. To further add to security woes, almost one-in-three (28%) directors say that they only audit their IT estate between once a month and once every 4-6 months. Additionally, only 34% have endpoint security and 26% have device encryption in place, while under oneMay21215 Almost two thirds (63%) of IT directors are not very confident in their IT estate’s ability to fully support the hybrid workforce, but over seven-in ten (71%) of organisations are not placing IT investment at the top of the priority list.
Sales Talent provides practical business tips for 2023 as UK faces “prolonged” recession However, this isn’t the first recession the UK has weathered and sales transformation specialist Sales Talent is reminding businesses that there are practical steps they can take to ward off the worst of the economic gloom. Sales Talent is keen to point out that being realistic doesn’t have to mean being pessimistic. The firm is urging businesses to implement a range of practical tips for 2023 to ensure that lessons from previous recessions are not lost. First is a switch to focusing on market share, not targets. Sales and marketing teams that are focused on getting new eyeballs on their brand can be inspired to innovate and create. Those feeling beaten down trying to achieve unrealistic, pre-recession targets, however, are unlikely to perform at their best. Another important point is that now is the ideal time for firms to revisit their lead generation and conversion strategies. Are opportunities being missed when it comes to finding new business? Is everything possible being done to convert new leads into paying customers? Any work that can improve the lead generation and conversion process will pay dividends both during a recession and after. Support for individual team members is also essential. As Sales Talent’s Paul Owen points out: The approach of a new year usually brings a frisson of excitement, with the promise of fresh starts and a business climate packed with people reinvigorated after the Christmas break. Yet with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirming that the UK economy has fallen into recession, many businesses are finding it tougher than usual to think positively as we head towards 2023. The Bank of England’s expectation that the “prolonged” recession will last into the first half of 2024 certainly doesn’t help when it comes to being optimistic. Sadly, training budgets are often one of the first thing to be cut during times of recession, but that lack of foresight can end up costing companies dearly. When the good times come around again – which they will, with economics being cyclical – it will be the companies who have invested in retaining and supporting their staff who are ready to make the most of the post-recession surge. For sales and marketing teams, regular training while times are tough could be the difference between them feeling supported and not. “There is plenty we can learn from the credit crunch and from previous recessions when it comes to operating a business in a tough economic climate. The way that companies manage their sales and marketing teams, for example, can make a huge outcome to how they weather the financial storm.” Paul Owen, MD, Sales Talent May21234 “Team members who feel supported and confident in their position and their importance to the business will be far more likely to perform at their best. Competence and confidence go hand-in-hand, so companies that put training programmes in place to grow their team’s skills and knowledge should see a resulting jump in confidence – one that benefits the business as a whole.” “It’s time to take a long-term view. Some businesses thrive during recessions, but the majority do not. It’s time to be realistic about what investing wisely in your business means. For most companies, that means investing in their people and heading into 2023 as a strong team with a clear, joint focus.” Paul Owen, MD, Sales Talent
According to recent insight from Reuters, the world’s top automakers are planning to collectively invest almost $1.2 trillion between now and 2030 into the development of electric vehicles (EVs). Alongside the design and production of new models, this also includes financing new battery development programmes and funding rising raw material costs. Dwarfing previous projections, this announcement shows intent. Indeed, OEMs are predicting that 50% of all global production will be electric before 2030. Tesla alone plans to be manufacturing 20 million EVs per annum within the next decade (a 13-fold increase), with the development of a smaller vehicle platform already underway that could cost half as much as the hugely popular Model 3. Volkswagen, on the other hand, will channel $100 billion toward expanding its portfolio, while Toyota expects to boast a range of 30 EV models before 2030 – and will have transitioned Lexus’ entire portfolio to electric powertrains alongside. Ford is further boosting its spending level (currently at $50 billion), Mercedes-Benz has earmarked $47 billion and BMW $35 billion. Stellantis (parent company of Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Opel, Jeep, Citroen and many more) is planning an aggressive battery programme, aiming to achieve 400 gigawatt hours of capacity including four new plants in North America. Importantly, consumer demand is increasing alongside. Indeed, according to recent data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), more than 19,000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were registered nationwide in October, alongside 8,899 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). More than one in every five new cars now boasts an electric powertrain, while the decline of the internal combustion engine continues. Indeed, compared to 2021, diesel car sales have already dropped by 41% year-on-year, while petrol registrations have fallen by 13%. Yet while the speed of EV uptake and ever-increasing public demand is positive news, global supply challenges are beginning to hamper the sales of new electric models. If our national EV car parc is going to grow, the UK needs to see its demand prioritised. Market pressures begin to bite Surging global demand, combined with a widespread shortage of semiconductor microchips, part supplies hit by the war in Ukraine and the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is putting pressure on the availability of the latest electric models. According to insight from This Is Money, EVs that just a few months ago were freely As the transition to electrification continues to accelerate, investment from the world’s leading automotive brands is hitting new heights. Lee Sutton, CEO of myenergi, believes that – with vehicle demand now far outstripping supply – the UK needs greater volume from OEMs to maintain its impressive progress. available (such as the Vauxhall Corsa-e, Mokka-e and the Renault Zoe) now have a waiting list of up to 16 weeks. At the top end of the market, customers looking to purchase a new Audi e-tron, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Porsche Taycan or Lexus UX300e can expect a build timeline of upwards of 12 months. Production of the Tesla Model X and S have even been temporarily paused, with the company’s production facilities struggling to keep up with demand for its more affordable Model 3 and Model Y alternatives. The SMMT suggests that the motor retail sector is facing its ‘most challenging year for three decades’ as supply impacts sales, forecasting total registrations of just 1.6 million vehicles in 2022 (31% less than in 2019). While 2023 could see numbers begin to rise, predictions have been revised downward since the April estimate, with overall registrations anticipated to reach just 1.89 million. As a global leader in the race to electrification, the UK has – for a number of years now – acted as somewhat of a talisman for the industry. Indeed, with legislation passed that will see us ban the sale of new ICE-powered cars faster than any other nation, combined with a rapidly increasing EV adoption rate, we’re tracking far ahead of targets. The fact remains, however, that UK demand for new EVs is outstripping supply. If we’re to maintain momentum and retain our position as a world leader in EV adoption, we need far greater volume from vehicle manufacturers – even in challenging times. While agreed investment is significant, we need to see things accelerated and demand from the UK prioritised. Without this, we run the risk of slowing progress and unintentionally putting the brakes on transitioning to an all-electric car parc. A significant step backward, both from an industry and environmental perspective. To this end, it is also important that we see clarity from government on the promised Zero Emission Vehicle mandates, including targets for EV sales by 2024, to set the trajectory for the 2030 phase-out date. As the transition towards electrified mobility continues to accelerate at pace, myenergi is committed to operating at the forefront of the industry. Not just as a technological leader, but also as a supporter and enabler of EV adoption. The days of ICEpowered vehicles are numbered and we must all prepare for the technological shift… supply, however, is currently the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Investment is positive, but supply is critical in the race to electrification
Why we still need to keep Business Rates High on the Government’s agenda “MPs must continue to challenge the Government on its progress with business rates reform,” says John Webber Head of Business Rates at Colliers, “Or all promises of a levelling up agenda will be meaningless.” Webber’s call is in anticipation of a Parliament Backbench Business Committee Debate taking place this week, led by Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney which will be discussing the question of business rates. The debate will receive a Ministerial response. Webber’s call is despite welcome decisions in the Autumn Statement where the Government not only froze the Multiplier but abolished downwards transition in the next revaluation, allowing rates bills to immediately reflect falling rental levels The new Revaluation in April 2023 will also provide some reprieve for retailers with rateable values (RVs) down an average of 10% for the sector and a greater share of the tax burden passing to the distribution and industrial sector – RVs averaging a rise of 27%. This will mean the likes of Amazon will see around a 38% rise in their rateable value come the new list, taking off some of the pressure of the tax burden from the high street retailer. However, according to Webber these measures are the tip of the iceberg. “In his Autumn statement, the Chancellor was, in reality, merely putting a sticking plaster on a gaping wound.” “Whilst we welcome the freezing of the multiplier and removal of downwards transition, the fundamental flaws of the business rates system remain.” Colliers call MPs to Challenge the Government on Manifesto Promises for Reform and Levelling Up Agenda These are the issues Colliers believe MPs in Parliament need to be discussing this week: Fallout from the New Rating Revaluation List - 2023 Firstly, headline figures are obviously averages and there are still large discrepancies on the new rating list, probably unsurprising given the VOA was assessing properties in the midst of Covid when many properties were temporarily closed, or deals were being struck with landlords. What is now becoming apparent is a two-tier system is appearing: those occupiers and owners of properties that either themselves or via agents made representations to the VOA during the assessment process appear to have been more successful in negotiating lower and more correct values. That means the big stores in Oxford Street, or the big hypermarkets or shopping centres, will see the biggest drops in their RVs and ultimately rates bills from April 2023. But some of the smaller shop traders in market towns across the UK, often without any representation to the VOA, may not see much reduction at all. Obviously the VO they did have a difficult job to assess values - but as Webber points out, “You have to ask yourself a very simple question- what would a tenant pay to rent a pub / hotel / office or shop when on the valuation date of 1 April 2021, they either couldn’t open it or if they could there were significant restrictions? Unless this discrepancy between those well represented and those who are not is dealt with, the Government’s levelling up agenda will be meaningless.” Lack of Transparency from the VOA and an Unfriendly and IllEquipped Appeal System Meanwhile the valuation process that allocates shops their rateable values is not transparent. The VOA does not share the evidence that it uses to form the basis of its valuations. The only way business occupiers not happy with their RVs can access this evidence is by challenging the valuation through the “check challenge appeal” system (CCA), a lengthy and costly process for the occupier. We expect that many challenges to the valuation process will be submitted over the coming months following concern that the VOA uses flimsy evidence when conducting property valuations. The difficulty is that the current system makes it extremely hard for businesses to appeal their assessments. Recent tinkering with (CCA) and removing the Check part of the system has only added to the confusion. The request for the annual provision of information from the ratepayer, not only confirming physical details of the property on an annal basis but also updates on rent and lease and trading information has also added a significant administrative burden. Colliers believes the current system of appeals is therefore not fit for purpose – only those companies that can afford professional advisors That means the big stores in Oxford Street, or the big hypermarkets or shopping centres, will see the biggest drops in their RVs and ultimately rates bills from April 2023. But some of the smaller shop traders in market towns across the UK, often without any representation to the VOA, may not see much reduction at all.
get to the right answer- again contrary to the levelling up agenda. The system should be transparent, easy to access for all and allow appeals to be resolved in 12 months. Rogue Rating Advisors- Unhappiness with rates assessments and a complicated process of dealing with appeals system will also only drive more smaller businesses into the arms of rogue rating agents who promise to negotiate lower bills, but often disappear after taking an upfront fee. Colliers say they see the numbers of such “advisors” rise every revaluation and urges the government to regulate the industry and set up a register of rating advisors, similar to the FCA, to make sure the cowboy and criminal element that prey on such businesses are kept at bay. Until reformed, businesses need the best advice from professional advisers if they are to navigate the complex CCA system. The Multiplier (the UBR used to calculate rate bills) is still unsustainably high. Although it was frozen at 51.2 p and 49.9 p (for small businesses) for 2023-4, this is still the first time a new list has started with a multiplier over 50p- which means as time moves on and the multiplier rises with inflation this figure will continue to increase. Indeed, the Chancellor froze the UBR at 51.2p for one year only (2023/ 24). Business rates for retail and other sectors will therefore rise from April 2024. Nowhere else in Europe do businesses pay half the rental value of premises in property taxes. Set at this level, business rates deter new investment in business. The UBR was just 34p when first introduced in 1990 and Colliers has long been saying it should be rebased to that level that businesses can afford. A lower UBR would reduce the barriers to entry, expansion and innovation for businesses encouraging growth and broadening the tax base, thus plugging any gaps in revenue for the Exchequer caused by a lower UBR. Retail Reliefs The extension of business rates relief for retail and hospitality premises from 50% to 75% in 2023-4 is welcome, even though this only helps smaller retailers because it only applies to the first £110,000 of business rates paid. The OBR envisages that this relief will be removed from 1 April 2024, which would leave such retailers with a massive tax hike at that point. A tapering scheme will need to be applied. Reform of the Sticking Plaster Reliefs System Re-basing the multiplier to something affordable will mean that the whole question of the myriad of reliefs can become simplified and resolved, as not so many businesses will need to claim them. Small Business Rates is vital to support the economy and local businesses in the community, particularly whilst the multiplier is so high, and Colliers support that. However, many reliefs have been handed out by politicians over the last 30 years to satisfy short term political and not economic goals, culminating in a system of complicated reliefs that is difficult to navigate for ratepayers. The business rates system currently comprises 12 reliefs and, in some places, there are business rates deserts- about 800,000 property occupiers who pay nothing in business rates at all due to the reliefs system. Surely everyone that benefits from public utilities and local services needs to pay something- but at a fair rate. Colliers believes reliefs should be reviewed at least every 3 years. Extend Empty Property Rates Relief and accept that the significant amount of long term empty commercial property in England is due to a lack of market demand and long-term socio-economic factors, not because the landlord wants to keep it empty. The six months empty rates holiday should be extended to twelve months and extended from the warehouse and industrial sectors to include retail and offices. Introduce Annual Revaluations - The Government has moved from five-yearly revaluations to three-yearly revaluations- a step in the right direction- but still far from a more equitable system of yearly revaluations. By implementing yearly revaluations, business rates bills will accurately reflect the dynamic movements of the market and allow occupiers to benefit immediately from adjustments to rateable values. The increased occurrences of significant and unforeseen events, such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, further emphasise the need for a system that is able to more accurately react to rapidly changing economic landscapes. Review Plant and Machinery- There should be a wholesale and then regular review of what is or is not rateable in relation to plant and machinery. All plant that is an integral part of the trade process should be exempted from business rates as should be investment in new technology that make businesses more green/ sustainable. This would allow the rating system to complement government policy and targets. As John Webber concludes, “ In its 2019 Manifesto, the Conservative Party promised, “To cut the burden of tax on business by reducing business rates. This will be done via a fundamental review of the system.“ Sadly, it has not yet fulfilled this promise and it was disappointing to hear Michael Gove say recently there will be no time for business rates reform before the 2024 election. Moreover, far from cutting business rates, this year’s list showed a general 7.1% increase in rateable value. And looking at the OBR report it seems that the Government is now forecasting that income from business rates is only going one way- upwards. Forecasts predict the income will rise to nearly £36 billion by 2027/28 (from £28.5 billion in 2022/23), which appears contrary to the Conservatives’ manifesto pledge. Note: OBR : Income Expected from Business Rates So, these are the issues MPs must debate on Tuesday. The Labour Party has threatened to abolish business rates altogether if it gets into power- but its plans on what to replace them with remain woolly. Rather what we need is a well-managed and transparent business rates system, and we need it now. We urge MPs to call out the government if it continues to ignore the call for urgent reform and help those businesses in their constituencies floundering in this over burdensome and unfair system. Only then can the government’s levelling agenda finally be achieved.”