Internet sites and business issues relevant to Canadian processors and moldmakers (January 01, 2000)
This new column will be appearing every month, relating some of my forays on the Internet and discussing issues related to business and the Internet. Site reviews and information about "where to find ...
This new column will be appearing every month, relating some of my forays on the Internet and discussing issues related to business and the Internet. Site reviews and information about “where to find …” aim to save you time, because sifting through the exploding jumble of information that is the Internet is not very efficient. I’m also looking for good ideas in website design to pass on.
For ease of reading and future reference, actual website addresses are presented as footnotes at the end of each section.
ONLINE OFFICE SUPPLIES COME WITH PERKS
A radio advertisement prompted me to seek sites for purchasing business supplies, which led to the wonders of Office Depot. In addition to the standard online catalog format and online ordering, the Office Depot website (1) also provides useful business tools. The “office toolkit” has sample business forms and letters that you can download and customize for your own purposes. There are things like non-compete agreements, employee satisfaction surveys, job description form, time-off policies, cash flow budget worksheet, etc. Some of the forms relate specifically to U.S. regulations (OSHA Form 200 – Illness and Injury Log), but others are general enough to be useful.
For distinctly Canadian business info, try management consultants KPMG (2). The site has a ton of free documents related to business issues, with specific sub-sections related to succession planning and taking your business public. One tip from the succession planning area: Stress the difference between ownership and management of the business when discussing succession.
A STRATEGIC SITE
Industry Canada’s Strategis (3) web site is a fabulous resource for businesses. It has countless paths you can follow to find information on small business support services, sources of financing and self-assessment tools. It’s also the only source other than the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA)(4) that I know of for statistics on the plastics industry.
SIDE TRIP: ASSOCIATIONS
CPIA was just launching a new website (4) as we went to press. It appeals to a broad range of people, with resources for the general public, teachers and kids, as well as trade show information and lots of industry links. It has a detailed search engine for its directory of members, which includes processors, moldmakers, consultants and resin suppliers. I would suggest, though, that it be made clear to visitors that the search engine only provides names of members.
The Canadian Tooling and Machining Assocation (5) has a site with good potential. It has a searchable database of member companies and their capabilities, a calendar of events with some international gatherings, and a link to ISTMA, an international tooling and machining association.
The Society of Plastics Engineers, Ontario Section site (6) is hopelessly out of date, and virtually useless.
Next month’s column will talk about search engines and how to use this type of tool to find what you want.